CultureSunday 04.24.22

Alabama HC Nick Saban Weighs in on College Athletes and NIL

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College athletes have gotten a major boost to their earning power in recent years, as dozens of state laws and a Supreme Court decision last summer allowed them to strike NIL (or “name, image, and likeness”) deals with sponsors. While many of the contracts that followed are small, others are incredibly lucrative. Top high school quarterback Quinn Ewers, now with the Texas Longhorns, left school early to enroll at Ohio State and sign a $1.4 million contract with GT Sports Marketing, and University of Alabama quarterback Bryce Young is one of a number of football stars to hold multiple endorsement deals.

The Crimson Tide's own head coach, Nick Saban, is wary about the possibility that students could make their enrollment decisions purely on the back of endorsement deals, as opposed to how much a school appears on television or how good its facilities and coaching may be — Alabama’s best selling points. “I think it's great the players can earn the right to make money through name, image, and likeness,” Saban said at a February press conference. “I just hope that it doesn't get to where name, image, and likeness deals are created, you know, for high school players, to get them to go to a particular institution.”

More recently, Saban told the Associated Press that “I don’t think what we’re doing right now is a sustainable model.” Saban himself is the highest-paid coach in college football, bringing in nearly $10 million last season.

LZ and Will talk about how the college recruiting landscape is changing as players entertain the highest bidder — and whether there’s anything wrong with that.

The Long Game