Student Athletes – 1, NCAA – NIL

Photo: CBS Sports

Tuesday was a historic day in college sports. The NCAA officially enacted a name, image, and likeness (NIL) policy that allows “student” athletes to earn money off of their…name, image, and likeness. This finally allows any college athlete to (legally) earn income that they rightfully deserve.

We’ve already seen Fresno State basketball/TikTok stars Haley and Hanna Cavinder signed deals with Boost Mobile and Six Star Nutrition, Miami quarterback D’Eriq King is the new spokesman for the moving company College Hunks Hauling Junk, LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne could crack a million dollars from her NIL, and Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz straight up released his own logo.

An NIL approval plan was looooong overdue. Of course, as most things with the NCAA, it wasn’t handled correctly. But you can’t have sunshine without rain, right? We’ll see our fair share of car dealerships, autograph deals, and card signing gigs after today’s announcement. But what kind of player endorsements could we have missed out on in years past?

College football seems to benefit huge from the NIL agreement. Can you imagine if we could have seen Reggie Bush RE/MAX Real Estate ads? Andrew Luck working with the Palo Alto Mathnasium? Tim Tebow could have been taking a cut of Sunday tithe in any of the churches in the greater Gainsville area; Cam Newton missed an opportunity with the local Edward Jones Financial branch in Auburn, Alabama.

College basketball has had plenty of stars who could have cashed in back in their day. You can’t tell me a Joakim Noah/Gainesville CBD Store partnership wouldn’t have slapped. Greg Oden linking up with the ATI Physical Therapy in Columbus? Get out of here. Tyler Hansbrough toting Off! Bug Spray? Cha-ching. It’s not just the fellas who missed out on securing the bag. Diana Taurasi and Rebecca Lobo, two of the most dominant UConn Huskies of all time, could’ve crushed it with an ad campaign for the Humane Society. Sabrina Ionescu, the 2020 number one overall pick in the WNBA Draft, played her college ball at Oregon. How great would it have been to have a (paid) cameo appearance on “Portlandia?”

Just scratching the surface here, but don’t want to get too deep and depress all of us even more on what could’ve been. We’ll just have to grin and bear it and accept the fact that that these kids who give an incredible amount to their universities will now be duly paid whatever they can get out there and earn on the free market.

The NCAA sucks.

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