Yes, the NCAA is dead. And the NCAA is beginning to realize it.
Via Sports Business Daily, the NCAA has decided (wisely) to throw its hands in the air and to allow schools to make their own decisions about the question of whether and to what extent athletes may generate revenue from their names, images, and likenesses.
It’s the only thing the NCAA could have done, in the wake of this week’s enactment of NIL laws in multiple states and last week’s ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court that, essentially, the entire business model constitutes one giant antitrust violation. Restricting the ability of adult men and women to profit from their fame in a clumsy effort to support the façade of amateurism in order to justify not sharing with the players a chunk of the substantial revenue they generate has been, and would be, a flagrant and blatant infringement on the rights of these individuals.
So the NCAA will punt to the schools. As it should. And now it will be critical for the schools to make their own decisions, without influence or pressure from the NCAA or the conferences.
The rules adopted by the schools become critical to recruiting. The greater the rights to generate revenue from name, image, and likeness, the better the chance the school will have to land the player.
The NCAA still wants Congress to save the inherently corrupt business model through a national NIL law. But before Congress places artificial limits on the power of young football and basketball players to make money based on who they are, Congress needs to ask itself why no such limits are placed on young actors, musicians, and anyone else who finds a way to capitalize on the inherently capitalistic U.S. economic system. Once Congress answers that question, maybe Congress will conclude (rightly) that it has far better things to do.