“Show Me the Money”…is NIL the END of it?

Charles Fischer, Mr. FishDuck Editorials 57 Comments

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Jon Joseph‘s article yesterday got me to pondering about the whole, “income-for-the-college-athlete” situation, and I recalled how last summer at this time–players in the Pac-12 were making a number of demands and the discussion was going to include a piece of the athletic pie (budget) going to them. Then COVID cancelled the season and it all was forgotten, but at the time I could not help if this was the beginning of the end for college athletics.

I was curious as a ponder-point what your thoughts are?

Is this NIL compensation going to be enough to satisfy the football players? What about the non-glamorous positions getting no NIL love? (Offensive guard, I’m looking at you!) Or perhaps players who feel they are talented enough, but have a tiny contract compared to a teammate in the locker next to him? (Can you believe I wrote that? That sounds like something you deal with in the NFL!)

What about the non-revenue sports? A great womens point guard might not get anything, but she is crucial to feeding Sedona Prince under the basket–will that hurt team chemistry?


Is NIL going to take college athletics to this?

Do you think the whole player compensation issue is done with NIL? What do you think is next? How do we solve these issues? Is this going to turn away fans, or will we simply get used to it?

I know–a whole lot of questions because it got me to pondering. And I will always be doing that here; thoughts?

“Oh, how we love to ponder about Our Beloved Ducks!”

Charles Fischer   (Mr. FishDuck)
Eugene, Oregon
Top Photo from YouTube

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J Duck

On the one hand, college stars are “exploited” quite a bit with no compensation, but I think NIL will be just as you say Charles, the O-lineman or the non-revenue sports…will cause issues. Sabrina would have done fine, look at her on the Allstate commercials with Chris Paul already. Nike close by could benefit us Ducks, but how is that fair to other schools? Remember scholarship limits? It leveled the field a lot.

Someone yesterday mentioned the Alabama QB. Will that automatically be one of the highest paid players in college football annually? I see way more downers than uppers outta the whole NIL thing. You get free college and a chance to develop and maybe go pro. Most of those garnering most of the NIL bucks are the ones who will be good enough to go pro and make money anyhow.

The O-lineman? He gets a college degree. (Plenty of O-lineman will go pro, but still, what, 1% overall that play D-1?)


Good point, The rich get richer.


Well if the NCAA goes away I’d think that would help Oregon because then you have Mr Knight paying more money to players. Money talks BS walks. Other than that now that the SEC just reached out to the Sooners and Texas this just means the PAC 12 needs to up the Anty or just go down.


I only see one benefit from this NIL decision. And that is the end to Alabama’s reign as a perennial champion. NIL monies will flood to Texas (oil) and to a lesser extent, OK. Also there is likely a large infusion of cash to Miami and Florida (you guess the sources).

Where goes the money, there go the athletes.

Jon Joseph

And So Cal guy Bryce Young who has yet to start a game at QB for Bama, has according to Saint Nick, already signed a $1M+ in NIL deals.

The sky is the NIL limit in the SEC.


Yes, most of the good players reside in the SEC currently. They will be paid. (And I don’t know, maybe any qb at Bama is worth a million bucks.)

But it is rich donors will make the difference in the long term, not historically favored teams. A million might be pocket change in 5 years for someone at USC or Texas. That’s where the big bucks reside…not in Alabama. In the NIL case, it will be money talks, everything else walks.


Think about it BAMA wins another championship then a Million dollars to a 5-11 QB was well worth the money.


What about all the rich tech company’s from California? ? Why can’t the Cali Schools tap into some of that money?? Apple. Google, Intel, Facebook…. And tons of others!


Exactly. And if it happens, the cash won’t be going to Alabama.

Hahaaa…..who knows? Maybe Harvard will become THE new football/basketball G.O.A.T. There is a LOT of $$ in the pockets of their alumni. :)

Jon Joseph

2 other tasty CFB tidbits.

Todd McNair, the NCAA’s scapegoat for the Reggie Bush fiasco and now the RB coach for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, has settled for an undisclosed amount with the NCAA.

Looks like the NCAA is cleaning house before in part at least, going away.


On Sunday the Texas A+M president reversed course and said that A+M will not ‘actively work’ to derail UT and OK joining the SEC.

No doubt, this came after a phone call from SEC Commish, Greg Sankey.

In addition to ESPN undoubtedly being clued into SEC/UT/OK discussions that have been on-going for 6 months, my guess is that Sark also knew where UT was headed before he took the Horns HC job. I cannot imagine TX AD Del Conte, keeping Sark in the dark before he signed on the dotted line?


I think this is the end of amature college football(and probably basketball). When I say end, I do think it will continue forward for most programs, but not the high level programs. I think we will see the NCAA relegated to the smaller schools or disappear all together.

As Jon noted below, texas and oklahoma destroys the big12 that conference doesn’t have the capability to sustain itself. as for the rest of the power 5. The ACC has four teams that make 100m/year or more, the pac12 has five(I’d also assume USC does and stanford is probably close). SEC adding tex and oklahoma puts them at 15 of 16(No idea on vandy but I’m assuming no). Lastly the Big Ten has 13 schools making 100m Plus the private school northwestern(again no idea). the remaining big 12 have 2 schools who made 100m or more.

Overall this is between 40-43 schools who make over 100m and in the end I think college football will settle to a semi pro league with 40-48 teams. Eventually with a north(Bigten) and south(South) divisions. The top pac teams likely getting swallowed by the Big ten and such.

Overall if you have hated the overall commercialized version of football the NFL has produced in the last 5-7 years to expect College to get better. on the opposite end I also think this will create more parody within the college ranks(obviously not for the 80+ teams getting left out of the new super league but within the program). I also think it will allow for the game to change better and quicker. Right now there seems to be so much time spent on recruiting that I think a super league system will actually drop some teams.

All in all I am probably over speculating I just think the Big Ten and members of the ACC and Pac 12 are going to be looking at this and trying to find a way to compete. add in that the SEC will probably sue the NCAA to be able to pay players(and the supreme court has already displayed which way they will rule). The Rest of football is going to have to get creative to counter the SEC.

Jon Joseph

Great points.

But why the suit against the NCAA?

Players can be paid through NIL without making a team an employer. And I am certain that many the SEC team has already lined up ready + willing business “partners.”

It’s clearly every man for himself. Team? Tradition? GONE.


I’ve always thought the SUC I mean the SEC has pretty much had a differen’t set of rules than every other conference. I’m quite sure they were paying players before this. Do you remember Scam Newtons father asking for the highest bidder for his sons services. Guy was great for College not for the NFL. Semi Pro bring it on. We have one of Forbes richest boosters with tons of money to spare.

Now he can call Ducks his own team. Honestly I hate ESPON but the truth is they are taking over the Sports TV now.

Santa Rosa Duck

Lots of good comments here. I cannot even begin to think what this all means 2,3 or 5 years down the road. One thing that sticks in my brain is what does NIL do to the the whole concept of team? What is it going to be like for a star QB earning $100,000 or even $1,000,000 per year while many if not most are getting zero. As fans, we do understand that in CFB only 2-3 % of the players make it to the pro leagues. What will it be like on a team with our star QB earning a small fortune while his #1 left tackle is getting zero? In my mind, bad scenarios may happen.

Jon Joseph

It’s official.

Today Texas and Oklahoma informed the B12 that they will not renewing the grant-of-media-rights to the B12 beyond the current expiration date in 2025.

Conference bylaws require 18 months notice if a school desires to leave. This starts the clock running.

Per the existing grant-of-rights, to leave before 2025 would cost each school $80M. This of course, is prior to the lawyers getting involved. When Maryland left the ACC for the B1G, the Terps settled for less than half of what was contractually owed the ACC.

Also today, in an article up on The Athletic, Andy Staples suggests that the B1G look to the Pac-12 and add UW, OR, CAL, Stanford, UCLA and USC. All 6 are members of the American Association of Universities (AAU.) The only B1G school that is not an AAU member is Nebraska.(Closer by Kansas and Iowa State are also AAU members.)

IMO, this would be NIRVANA for the Ducks.

The new B1G members from the Pac-12 would undoubtedly receive less of a distribution from the get-go (as did Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland) but as part of the B1G conference and with FOX as the principle, if not the sole media partner, the $ would flow.

I doubt that your comment is unpopular, but it means that Pac-12 teams under the current iteration will be even more of a CFB after-thought.

Without the $ to come close to competing with the B1G, SEC and even, with its own ESPN owned network, the ACC.

Larry Scott’s joke/broke network, has come home to roost.

Charles, tradition has left the barn. As has team over self and sticking it out and competing rather than transferring out.

Expand or realize that in CFB you will be G5.

Recruiting in the conference is HORRIBLE. And this is before OK and UT will be recruiting as SEC schools.

Why should Oregon stick around to prop up AZ, ASU, CU, Utah, WSU and OR ST and go down with the Pac-12 ship?

I could not respect your opinion more.

The Pac-12 as constituted today, is a non-entity when it comes to the playoff.

So, let’s go to 12? How many SEC teams will be in a 12 team Playoff year after year? A Playoff brought to you by SEC-buddy, ESPN.

Philosophically, I agree with you my friend. But my philosophy will not bring back the Pac-12 versus the B1G champion playing in the Rose Bowl in the bowl game of the year.

This year to date, the Pac-12 has lost a most successful USC woman’s track coach and the AZ baseball coach to the SEC.

It is not going to stop.


Wow, talk about an arms race. SEC/ESPN on one side and BIG/FOX Sports on the other, plus the unlimited possibilities of adding streaming as well.

Jon Joseph

EXACTLY. This is what I see happening. FOX elbows ESPN out of the B1G

As for the Pac-12 as is, how large will FOX be willing to go?

As part of the B1G, the Pac breakaway 6 would be in line to make big bread and to also have big time media coverage.

How many folks will be watching the conference media day tomorrow on the Pac-12 Network? How many uncommitted recruits?


There is so much to say about our current condition. These are historic times of monumental change, not only because of COVID, but also the cultural upheaval we are experiencing. Court decisions and social pressures are forcing us all onto a landscape where we cannot see the horizon. We have no idea of the consequences of this journey.

Freedom of thought and speech is at risk. Words and actions are parsed in ways that allow minor mobs to rule our culture. Questionable leadership and political influence of most institutions has caused bowing before those mobs. And thus they have become part and parcel of those mobs. Money and greed has elevated the “Me Generation” of the ’70s to astounding levels. And college sports is not immune to this tsunami of change.

The culture most of us grew up with is on life support. History is being revised (and reviled) and tradition is left for dead. Whether for good or bad is up to the individual to ponder.

And so this process taints amateur sports. College sports will change forever with this NIL decision and we know not where it will take us. For certain non-revenue sports will be relegated to “club” status. There will be no need for scholarships to those athletes…and perhaps ALL college athletes. For football and basketball, in particular, we will witness the rich getting richer and the poor, well, giving up. Crowning a national champ will be easy with the only viable, financially super supported 30 or so universities still fielding teams.

As long as we have Phil Knight and Nike on our side, our Ducks will likely have the donor resources to survive and to become one of those super league teams. Long live (please) Phil Knight.

On a personal note, I am saddened by the developments in our sports…and in our culture. I’m hoping for wisdom to prevail. But I’m not optimistic. I have quit watching professional sports because of the greed of the athletes and the owners and the antics of both. The road that college sports now travels looks an awful lot like that of the NFL, NBA, etc. History, remember?!

Jon Joseph

It is a new day, no doubt.

Terrific and most insightful comment.


Thank you for your heart felt comment. I too do not watch professional sports for this very reason. Sadden to see how college sports is heading.


I don’t see schools compensating players more than they already are because of Title IX. Title IX would force every roster player to be compensated the same. Even though there is monopoly money with college sports, there still isn’t enough money to go around.

At U of O there are 131.3 scholarships for the guys and 101 for the women. 259 roster sports for guys and 228 roster spots for the women. That is 487 roster sports at Oregon alone and U of O has a pretty small sports program compared to other Universities.

Give the kids $100, that is $48,700. Give the kids $1000, that is $487,000. Give the kids $10,000, that is 4,870,000. When 95% of college sports lose money, there just isn’t enough money if every student has to be compensated the same.

Title 9 does not apply to monies received by athletes, unless the money or other benefits other come from their particular school.

And women athletes are already cashing in.

Twin basketball players on the women’s team at Fresno State, who have 3M Tik Tok followers, have signed NIL deals worth more than $500K.

Nothing prevents female athletes from cashing in and again, T9 does not cover private transactions.

OK. But I think NIL will make many of said demands moot? And many of the demands were DOA.

The concerns seemed to disappear once the Pac-12 season finally kicked off in 2020.

The players behind these demands have far less leverage then they think and many players distanced themselves from these demands.

To reiterate, T9 does not apply to NIL. Many female athletes will be making bank.


I think on the whole, the NIL thing will be for the better. At first, it will likely be disruptive in ways that are hard to predict.

But, adjustments will be made. Rules will be put in place. Excesses will be smoothed out.

On the whole, I would rather see some of the vast amount of money generated by college football go to the players, rather than the coaches, ADs, bowl committee poobahs, NCAA executives, video game companies, and whoever else currently eats high on the hog.

Is it time to start offering good players on bad teams top$$$ Nike or booster paid NIL deals to come play. Totally legal, right?.
Thank you transfer rules. Don’t even have to sit out a year. Go prove yourself at a lesser school and get paid to transfer.
Let’s see the first NIL deal by an SEC booster of another conferences player. Waiting.

Jon Joseph

After the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 against the NCAA is impotent when it comes to trying to regulate NIL.

And if 1 conference says it is all good, go for it, will the other conferences be in a position to author more restrictive regulations?

Conferences that try to do so will be subject to the same price fixing, anti-trust litigation as the NCAA.

Without a total re-make of the Supreme Court, I do not believe that NIL can be regulated?


Problem is that the players will NOT get all this money. I foresee that the big money NIL players will have staffs. There will be an agent/manager, a publicist, a social media coordinator. With millions on the line, the image must be controlled and scripted. The staffs are going to take the cream, and likely more. I have been the 18 to 22 year old naive, young man that has been taken to the cleaners. This is going to be rife for exploitation. The pot at the end of the rainbow has vultures and grifters that lurk about. That’s reality.

A year ago, I left sports behind and chose to put my attentions elsewhere. There is a big world out there. It’s a transition that often makes my heart heavy. I come back to FishDuck occasionally, because the community is great and FishDuck’s take is always interesting to read.

Jon Joseph

Thanks Charles.

Interesting that Nick Saban, after telling the world his QB has over a $1M in NIL deals (so come to Bama, wink, wink,) addressed the locker room issue.

He basically told the guys who will not be making big NIL money to suck it up, play to the best of your ability and the money will flow down the line. He also noted that there is a whole lot of income disparity in the NFL, but everyone is expected to do their job.

Nice try Nick. These are 17 to 22 year old ‘kids.’ They are not surrounded by veteran pro players to help keep them in line, but by college friends who will want to know what they are being ‘paid?’ And then will want to know why they aren’t being paid more? And now they will have agents who will be doing everything they can so their clients can make NIL money and so they can get a cut.

There is NOTHING the NCAA can do to help regulate NIL.

After taking a 9-0 whipping from the Supreme Court, Emmert and friends are not going to do a thing that smacks of price-fixing and anti-trust. This is one reason Emmert recently asked the conferences to start policing themselves, instead of having the NCAA serve as a watch dog.

How far will NIL go? A Miami booster is paying every player on the Canes roster $6,000 a year to pump his gym business, if they feel like it. If this isn’t pay-for-play, what is?

NIL was not supposed to be an enticement in recruiting? Right?

And with the new ‘free transfer’ rule in place, I expect a whole lot of roster tampering including, ‘come here and score big on NIL deals.”

I’m also pretty certain that players overlooked coming out of HS who go to a G5 school and shine will not be finishing at the G5 level.

But IMO, I get it. With the advent of the BCS and now the BCS x 2, the so-called playoff, CFB went from being a regional to national sport and the money rained down on everyone but the CFB and CBB players. The young men bringing in the bucks that pay for all the non-revenue sports.

Players today are well aware that their coaches are making money that prior to the 21st century, was unheard of. They are aware of the Taj Mahal facilities, built because athletic departments cannot make reams of money and avoid paying taxes.

So, these well-paid coaches are going to have to deal with the headache of roster management. There is zero assurance that a kid who enters your program as a freshmen will be there for at least 3 years. And how many of these young men, told they are better than sliced bread since junior high, will be willing to red shirt? They all want to play now and move onto The League ASAP.

It’s a brand new calculus for CFB; one that the NCAA is not in a position to regulate.

I expect that a number of ‘lesser’ P5 schools will fall by the wayside in CFB. And I imagine that Texas and Oklahoma to the SEC is just the beginning of conference realignment with size going to size.

Like Arizona in the Pac-12? Not 1 Rose Bowl 1/1 game to date. CFB recruiting that is far worse than many G5 programs. But AZ likes the checks it receives.

Vandy, which is very good in baseball and other non-revenue sports, is happy to be an SEC football bottom feeder. It’s all good just so long as the big checks roll in.

$ today is all that is valued.

You might turn down a B1G invite in order to stay in the same conference as OR ST.

But would Rob Mullens, the guy who has to meet a budget?


Will time spent contemplating/worrying about/dealing with NIL money take time away from studying film, working out, time in the classroom?

When mighty Rome progressively came to its end most inside thought all was well.

Certain team athletes have gotten recognition for their efforts as if their efforts existed in a vacuum. Is the guard who makes two critical blocks any less important than the running back who scored?

There is no I in team but a big one in the middle of NIL. nil is what we may be headed towards in college sports as it further becomes every team and every man for himself.

How long before players begin to change the way they play to be more visible, like able, or marketable? Will basketball players showboat more for TV? Baseball players try to hit more HRs?

It’s a new age with unknown horizons. Greed has taken another step forward.

That Charles, was LOL GREAT!

However, in the P5, Gekko clones are now the commissioners.

Tom Hansen and friends left town a long time ago.

Lou Farnsworth

My guess Charles, is that the NCAA will slowly fade away. Starting with football, and then gradually from other sports. I suspect that we will see some sort of hybrid model evolve that combines NIL money for the higher profile athletes, together with a stipend for the lower tier and/or non-revenue athletes. From where the stipend? That again would likely evolve into a hybrid, with funding streams coming from a variety of sources: the university , perhaps a (required) percentage of NIL money from those getting it, donations from alum, fans, etc, and, probably, other sources.

Whatever happens, the genie is out of the bottle, and we will never again see the college athletic landscape look like it did when we were growing up. Money speaks. Often profanely.

Jon Joseph

Emmert basically waved the white flag the other day when he asked conferences to start regulating themselves free of the NCAA.

Makes sense. Should Oregon have the same vote as my D3 alma mater Bowdoin? NO.


I think the stipend for all players will be how they handle those who are not the stars, but working hard in practice to make those stars better!

I for one would put $ in a fund that went to players not getting NIL.
The interesting thing to me is that the reason given for NIL was CFB making all those millions. Yet this NIL $$ is coming from businesses and donors. I don’t see the schools losing cash.

Someone mentioned there are still lots of players in the transfer portal. Maybe trading teams won’t be as easy as some think. Perhaps things will level out after a year or two.

One thing for sure, the SEC with a rabid fan base for football is better situated to gain from NIL than we are in the Pac12. Nike is not going to make players rich. The $$ will have to come from other donor business.
Nike has SEC teams too.

But with the NIL, expanded playoffs, and ESPN on their side, it is probably already too late to catch up with the SEC. We can expect them to win 3 of 4 championships going forward.

Unless some brilliant minds think like our own Jon J., and say kiss off ESPN, and start something big with Fox and maybe a streaming partner (amazon?) we will be always behind the sec-ball.

Jon Joseph

Lots of players in the portal? There are over 1400 players in the portal. Far more than there are available scholarships.

Dale Newton

PAC-12 Media Days are tomorrow. Mario Cristobal, Kayvon Thibodeaux and Johnny Johnson III are sure to be asked about all the big issues in college football as well as the September 11th showdown with Ohio State.

It ain’t what you say, it’s what you do.


Jon Joseph


Lots of nice guys whose teams authored sterling APRs and with a roster of players who never got in trouble, are unemployed.

1 thing matters in big time CFB and CBB – WINS. Your record is what you are.

Any ‘culture’ that does not lead to wins is frankly, worthless.

And as for your players thinking you are a great guy? How many players at Bama think that Nick Saban is a good guy? Since his first season in Tuscaloosa, Saban has not lost a game to an unranked team.

If a roster is not playing up to or exceeding its on paper potential (like, at Iowa State), the coach and his staff will eventually (sooner than later today considering the $ being paid to coaches) be shown the door.


Winning is usually all that matters.
And in the big arms race of college football, Jon, you are mostly right.

But I for one, am also very proud of a program that produces young men from young boys. Men ready and able to succeed in today’s world, and who know how to work.

It has been a long time since we have had player issues with the law, at least publicly. I like what Cristobal is doing here.
Yes, I want to win a natty. But Oregon will never be an Alabama. We have too much more than football going for us.

Jon Joseph

I hear you my friend. And I feel you.

But except in D3, those days are gone. No HC in the P5/G5 will be extended because their players are good students and solid citizens.

I find this to be sad but true.

Big time CFB long ago sold its soul to the media. Today, big time CFB and CBB is big business and is run like a big business.

As in any business there will be winners and losers.

Unfortunately, today, as the Pac-12 is currently constituted, it is not holding a winning hand.


Not being the great Karnack I cannot see the future, but only imagine what might be.

I imagine the NIL is not the end and only the beginning of compensation for football players. Yes, the revenue flow will be disproportionate favoring name stars, skill positions, personalities, and skewed for some by sugar daddys. Yada yada.

Darwinism will likely take over the football field with the strong programs becoming stronger leading to greater separation from and dominance over the Irrelevants.

The premier leagues and their members will experience increased exposure and exponential income growth while many others will lose both.

The NCAA has already, or will, lose its place in theregulation and governance of football as other bodies emerge and take effect for the premier teams. Whether or not the NCAA will remain the control body for minor sports as amateursim fades from football is unknown.

I suspect that compensation if players from AD budgets may materialize at some point in the future as pay checks or stipends.

Jon Joseph

Spot ON! And I expect Darwinism will lead to coalitions of the big boy teams; leaving the little fish behind.

In today’s world, if you were going to start a conference with the desire to attract the top drawer players, win big, and bring in big money, would you include schools from Corvallis, Oregon, Pullman, Washington, Wake Forest, North Carolina and Manhattan, Kansas?

Would you include schools that had extremely high barriers to admission? One’s that had student bodies that could care less about big time sports? One’s that featured empty stadiums on game day?

Would you include schools not willing to spend money to make money?

I doubt it.

Today, players are receiving a modest stipend as part of their scholarship.

But direct pay-for-play from your school? This makes the school an employer and the player an employee, and brings with it all the attendant issues and responsibilities that an employer-employee relationship entails.

Thus the NIL. Intended to allow athletes to make money without the direct involvement of their school.

However, prior to the NCAA 9-0 SCOTUS beat down, I do not think the CFB powers-that-be believed that NIL would be completely unregulated; completely caveat-emptor?

When a guy who has taken no meaningful snaps at Bama can ‘earn’ $1M+ in NIL deals; well, anything goes.

Sorry, but you Sir, is one BIG CATCH!