Here’s a succinct message to the college coaches, athletic directors, presidents et al. who are railing against the name, image and likeness rule that has finally allowed college athletes to engage in the same free market that has made many of the men and women holding the aforementioned titles part of this country’s economic privileged.
Cease your deceptive hypocritical ethical outrage.
Their sole concern is their own self-interests, as the NIL, to which it is commonly referred, has significantly shifted the landscape of college athletics. If it is acceptable for coaches, athletic directors and university presidents to jump from one school to another chasing larger multi-million dollar contracts, expanded influence and prestige unrestrained, why should college athletes earning power and ability to seek a better situation at another school via the transfer portal be restricted?
The simple and unspoken answer is it threatens an unequal and oppressive white patriarchal system that has evident facets of authoritarianism. Now that financial opportunity is more transparently a deciding factor as to where scholar-athletes will attend college, the power dynamics have been resoundingly altered. The men and women who theoretically have been charged with setting examples of leadership have revealed themselves to be primarily concerned with protecting and increasing the economic assets of the ruling class, which they comprise.
There are exceptions, such as Notre Dame head basketball coach Mike Brey. “I told a lot of young coaches,” said Brey as reported by multiple media outlets from the ACC Spring Meetings on Tuesday, “when we were on the road in April, I said, we got to stop complaining. Like, this is the world we’re in. Last time I checked, you make pretty good money. So everybody should shut up and adjust.” Brey is a rare voice of pragmatism, reality and fairness.
“You know, that’s just the world we’re in now. And you know, I’m not in it as long as the [Georgia Tech coach] Josh Pastners and some of these young guys. So good luck to y’all. I’ll be back in five years to see what’s up. Just remember, man, we’ve had it pretty good here. And it’s a great job. It’s high risk, high reward. But we all know what we signed up for.”
Heretofore, generations of teenagers have been indoctrinated with the false premise that they should be exceedingly thankful for attending college on a scholarship they earned through hard work, talent and sacrifice by adults sitting in ivory towers.
Even conservative Republican U.S. Sen. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee recognized and acknowledged long-existing elemental inequities within the NCAA in a meeting last week in Washington, D.C. with Pac-12 commissioner Greg Kliavkoff and SEC commissioner Greg Sankey to discuss potential federal NIL legislation.
“For far too long, the NCAA has refused to allow student-athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image, likeness (NIL),” Blackburn said in a statement. “(Outgoing) NCAA President Mark Emmert’s resignation is one of the many necessary structural changes that will enable the NCAA to support our student-athletes. During my meeting with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey and others today, I continued to push for the accountability and fairness measures our student-athletes deserve.”