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How NIL Deals Influence College Sports Recruitment

Jennifer Dawson

How NIL Deals Influence College Sports Recruitment

Back in 2021, the NCAA passed a bill that allowed college athletes to trade on their name, image, and likeness known as the NIL. Little did they know that it was going to radically alter the world of college sports forever. In a short time, recruiting changed immeasurably – athletes could now switch schools and discover new, money-spinning financial incentives. However, is it all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s take a look…

NIL Bill marked a new era for college sports recruitment

At the time, there was a great deal of debate over whether college athletes should have the ability to earn money off their name whilst they were still in school and it’s fair the say the decision caused much controversy. 

People thought that schools would actively “buy” recruits and use the promise of NIL cash streams if those recruits committed to a certain school. 

Most agree that players who earn revenue for themselves whilst studying are a great step forward for college sports. There were fears that NIL would interfere with the recruiting process, which would turn athletics into a needlessly complicated landscape that didn’t allow diversity. 

Three years on from the NIL Bill there’s still confusion

Three years have passed since the NIL Bill and it’s most definitely improved college sports – there’s no denying that the money has made a vast difference. However, there are a few small concerns that fans of the NCAA, coaches, and sponsors haven’t got much of an idea of where to draw the line. 

For instance, the needs to be some kind of limit on how coaches use the NIL to gain influence over school recruits. It needs to be an integral part of college sports, as it generates a lot of revenue, but there has been a slight downturn in loyalty to certain schools – and led to parity in some sports. Therefore it’s been suggested that college programs shouldn’t have any influence to encourage players to seek out NIL money in the recruitment process.

Some states have benefitted greatly – the likes of Georgia, Oklahoma, and Texas have done immensely well. Smaller colleges have been impacted, though – as some recruits would much rather work with a giant of sport than invest their time into a smaller team that may not do as well.

NIL is a positive thing in general 

In short, NIL is a net positive for college athletics, as it allows athletes to earn money for the hard work they put into each season. Here are just a few of the reasons why NIL is, in general, for the greater good of college sports. 

Firstly, it’s resulted in a much wider spectrum of athletes making money, in a variety of different sports and not just the higher revenue ones. One of the most important aspects of this has been the number of female college athletes who are now benefitting, and not being left trailing behind. 

Next, the NIL Bill has ended much of the confusion – and questioning about where athletes are getting their money from as there’s greater transparency across the board. Coupled with this is the bonus of encouraging athletes to be more cautious about their finances – and develop a greater awareness of economic literacy that will stand them in good stead as they make their way into the world of professional sports – and beyond. There are also humbling stories of athletes who have used their money and influence for great, altruistic purposes too – and used their star power to make a difference, whether that’s paying their own family members back for the time and money they invested, or spending time with other youngsters who are considering moving into pro sports.

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