Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel and Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde discuss the worst situation that could arise from the new NIL rules, and how that scenario is no worse than what we have now in college sports.
DAN WETZEL: Here's the worst thing that could happen, OK?
PAT FORDE: OK.
DAN WETZEL: Someone like Dan Gilbert, Michigan State billionaire who owns the Cleveland Cavaliers, says, I'm going to spend $100 million, and I'm going to sign the number one recruiting class the next four years. And I'm going to get all these kids. I'm going to sign eight five-stars a year and eight four-stars, and we're going to be loaded, and we're going to win national championships year after year after year. OK? That's conceivably the worst thing that could possibly happen if you want, which is exactly what happens right now without the booster putting it on the table at Alabama.
PAT FORDE: Right, right.
DAN WETZEL: So if the power shifts from Alabama to Michigan State, instead of building $100 million facilities, and waterfalls in your locker room, and mini golf courses, and pay the strength-- I'm just going to pay the players, and I'm going to win. And that would be the conceivably worst competitive balance thing possible, but in the reality, if you take the scope of it, so Michigan State's the new Alabama? All right, what happened?
PAT FORDE: That's OK, right.
DAN WETZEL: First off, that ain't going to happen, because Alabama's not going to sit there and go, well, we don't have any NIL. We don't have any. Right? It's going to be a dogfight for these kids, but that conceivably one person comes in and just blows the market out of the water. But we already have that. It can't get more competitively imbalanced.
PAT FORDE: No, it shouldn't. You're right. The way it sets up now, those dogfights already occur, right? They already battle for players. There's plenty of monetary investment, and now if it's above board a little bit more and we know about it, fine. That's better. At least we're stopping the sham, so to speak, that people are pretending that money isn't helping decide where players are going. So I'm totally fine with it.
I do wonder how this is going to-- will there be an effect on nonrevenue sports? I guarantee you, there are going to be some nonrevenue athletes to get rich starting Thursday, July 1.
DAN WETZEL: Sure.
PAT FORDE: They absolutely get paid, and that's going to be great. But you do wonder from a program building standpoint, does this actually impact Olympic sports negatively if booster money flows even more directly to revenue sports?
DAN WETZEL: If overall donations going into the athletic department budget has to be reduced, then conceivably the people that are going to get it are some of these nonrevenue sports. I agree. I still think the bigger threat to nonrevenue sports over the next 10 years is both market forces and Jeffrey Kessler going back to the Supreme Court.
PAT FORDE: Well, yeah.
DAN WETZEL: That's the one I would worry. I would worry those two more. Now you need to pay all the athletes, and you sit there and say, I don't need 3,000 athletes anymore. I can't pay them all. Overall, though, what they're scared of in competitive balance is one guy outbidding the rest of the country, which won't happen. But even if it does, so what? Right? Innocent people aren't dying if all of a sudden Michigan State wins the national title 6 years out of 10 opposed to Alabama winning the national title 6 years out of 10, or Michigan State wins the Big Ten 8 years out of 10 instead of Ohio State. It doesn't matter.
PAT FORDE: No.
DAN WETZEL: So their biggest fears are nothing, and I don't think that will even happen.
PAT FORDE: No, I don't think it probably will either. Like you said, it's not going to be something where one person I don't think can skew the balance to that degree, because it's going to be too competitive. But no, it's not going to happen. Again, if it does, OK. Again, the market will correct itself eventually. These things have a way of working out, and there is nothing inherent in the rules of nature or in the rules of football that says Alabama has to be the power, or Ohio State has to be the power, or Clemson has to be the power. And I think we'd all be a little bit refreshed to see somebody other than those three being the power at some point in time. That would be fine. I'd be OK with it.