NIL revenues could prompt college football players to stay in school longer

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To the extent that the NFL wants to support the free farm system that is college football by encouraging players to remain in school for as long as possible, the NFL has stumbled over an unexpected tool that may persuade players to defer their draft plans.

A question posed during my weekly Tuesday morning visit with Mully & Haugh on WSCR in Chicago caused me to finally think of one of the most obvious, albeit unintended, consequences of previously unpaid players now being able to generate money from their college-football fame. If those athletes can make money through autographs, appearances, sponsorships, social-media posts, etc., those athletes easily can justify soaking up one more year of revenue from college football notoriety before potentially becoming a far less prominent cog in the far more significant football machine that is the NFL.

It won’t drive the decision, but it will be a factor. How much money will the player make by staying in school? How much money will the player make by leaving? What are the chances that the player won’t be drafted as high as he thinks he’ll be drafted? What if he’s not drafted at all?

The stakes become higher for players who throw away the money that would come from playing for his college football team in search of more from the pro game. Without NIL revenue there’s nothing to lose, other than the opportunity to do enough in that extra year of college football that would result in the player being taken earlier. With the NIL revenue, it’s a much more difficult bet to evaluate.

As the phony-baloney amateurism ruse crumbles, and as college football players inevitably get fair value for their skills, abilities, and sacrifices, they’ll be more likely to stick around for the full duration of their eligibility, before shifting to another level of football where the money may not be much better. For plenty of players — great college players who simply hit a ceiling in the NFL and can’t bust through it — the money may be worse.

Regardless, the money is coming for college football players. And it could get more college football players to play college football even longer, reducing the number of players who choose to enter the NFL draft prematurely.

11 responses to “NIL revenues could prompt college football players to stay in school longer

  1. If you have a great season and are projected as a high draft pick, you should enter the draft. Lots of guys who are thought of as high picks stay in school and then don’t do as well the next season. The NIL stuff should help the guys who are fringe candidates stay in school.

  2. I’m still not sure how the players must wait 3 years after high school to play in the NFL is still legal. I guess it takes a potential player to challenge it and then gets stuck in court for over 3 years until uts no longer worth persuing

  3. Players that are making the most money from promoting their “brand” are likely the ones that will be the highest ranked coming out of college. The money from a salary linked to a high draft slot will likely be significantly more than they can make on their likeness, and that ability to make that ancillary money will not go away.

  4. There will be opportunity than just the top guys to earn some cash. I could see in Madison the linemen able to do some stuff as a group that would pay them.

  5. Since you wrote the word “money” seven times, I guess the article isn’t about football but, wait for, MONEY.

  6. Likely won’t affect guys too much for the next couple years while people figure out the best ways to cash in on these opportunities. In five years everybody will have it down pretty well and guys will have a very good idea if/when to leave school. Have to figure there will be some bad NIL contracts signed by unsuspecting kids to unscrupulous scammers.

  7. Dennis Finan says:
    June 29, 2021 at 1:25 pm
    Do they have to pay back the colleges?


    For what? Does Patrick Mahomes pay the chiefs anything back for this State Farm commercial? The schools will still make their money on football.

  8. No it won’t. The only ones getting any money from the NIL will be those players whose likeness is used, which is basically the major top players. These players will make more money going pro so they have no incentive to stay in college. This “stay in college” is a false narrative.

  9. They better be paying back those scholarships if they start landing big money. I have no problem with high school athletes gettting rides if they can’t afford it. But I do have a problem with them continuing those free rides if they become rich. Those funds should be recaptured and reinvested in the next wave of kids.

  10. BuckyBadger says:
    June 29, 2021 at 12:50 pm
    There will be opportunity than just the top guys to earn some cash. I could see in Madison the linemen able to do some stuff as a group that would pay them.
    You’re still not understanding, schools with boosters with the most money that they are willing to put towards buying college football championships with pay everyone on the team. Star QBs, Rb & Receivers will get the most money. Look at the salaries on an NFL Team by position. ” Payments” will breakdown in similar proportion on a college roster.
    Anyone who follows football knows that it is a team sport. You need good players in all positions to win championships, not just in the skill positions.

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