Guys. We made it. It’s May. While April is usually one of our favorite months on the sporting calendar, this April was the worst. Ever. But here we are in May and while there still aren’t any sports in the immediate future, unless you include just watching people beat each other up senselessly. And if that is your cup of tea, good news for you that UFC is having another UFC 249 on May 9.
In high school, a couple buddies rented a VHS from Blockbuster of UFC 1 with “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” Ken Shamrock. Now, we’re old, but we aren’t 249 years old. How does their counting system work? Do they just add one any time two guys – or girls – jacked up on steroids fight each other? And we’d like to see a feature on the guy who has watched all 249. Well, maybe just read about it. Not sure that’s a guy – and let’s face it, it’s a guy – people with brains can’t enjoy UFC enough to watch 249 versions of it.
As usual, we digress.
While there haven’t been actual sporting events, there were some newsworthy developments in the world of college athletics. While most fans are more concerned with whether or not they’ll be able to load up their tailgate, gather with thousands of their best friends and cheer on their team to victory (the answer is: no one knows), the NCAA Board of Governors released recommendations for student-athletes to be eligible to profit off of their Name, Image and Likeness starting with the 2021-2022 academic year.
While this was forced upon the NCAA member schools with the litany of state politicians who decided to put bills forth in their respective states to legalize this, it is still the right thing to do. Of all the things state politicians should be focused on, we’re glad they decided to drop everything and draft bills that would impact a miniscule fraction of their constituents. That’s the power of sports though.
Regardless of how we’ve arrived at this point, we’re almost there. The technicality of the member institutions actual voting on this still has to take place, but it will be passed. Here are a few of our quick thoughts on this landmark decision:
- Fundamentally, if someone is willing to pay you to sign your name on a sheet of paper, or promote their business on your Instagram account, or appear in your used car tv commercials, you should be able to get paid for that. How those things are regulated, or if they are regulated, is the bigger dilemma for the NCAA to solve. If Alabama fans are willing to sprint across the field like their getting in line for a Soviet Union bread truck just to get an autograph from an 18 year old, it’s not difficult to imagine that they might be willing to just give the guy some cash and save themselves the heart attack.
- While the players in football and basketball are certainly the ones who will likely see the most benefit, there are a lot of Olympic sport athletes who can capitalize. Do you know who Deyna Castellanos is? Me neither. But I learned this week she’s a recently graduated women’s soccer player from FSU who has 1.4 million followers on Instagram. Our math isn’t great, but that seems like a lot. Florida State’s football account has 350,000. So, hypothetically, if a company wanted to leverage social media to promote their company, they would get 4 times the impact working with a women’s soccer player than the football team. (Ed. Note – we’re sure there are marketing/advertising people out there who would have some really nerdy, and impossible to understand, explanation for why the math isn’t that simple. But they’re just making stuff up to justify their jobs. Not that there’s anything wrong with that)
- The buzz word you will hear from athletic directors around the country until this is put in place is “guard rails.” When the chair of the working group on this issue, and Big East Commissioner, Val Ackerman used the term guard rails in the press release, it set off a firestorm of copycats, which we found comical. Presumably, “establishing guard rails” sounded better than, “we were forced to do this, we don’t really want to do it, and we know that it’s going to lead to an incredible amount of recruiting violations that we’ll be powerless to stop.”
In other NCAA news, there was significant momentum to allow all Division 1 athletes the ability to transfer once without having to sit out. That change to the rules looks to be postponed, which is a smart decision. However, ultimately, we assume that will pass, likely next year. Two quick points on this rule:
- Currently, there are different rules depending on the sport. Most sports, you already can transfer and compete the next year. The revenue generating sports, however, force a transfer to take a year in residence before being able to play. There are valid arguments behind both, but there isn’t a valid argument behind having different sets of rules for the various sports. Unless you count, “we want our revenue sports to win and we think they win more if they can keep the same players longer.”
- Whoever came up with the name “portal” for the online database that college students who play sports can enter their name into if they are interested in changing schools is an actual marketing genius. Everyone loves to talk about “the portal” as if it’s some mythical place. Depending on your perspective, it’s the promised land of milk and honey where other schools are begging you to join them or it’s a dark place of pure misery that quitters are sent to think over their transgressions. But really, it’s a just an online database.
Finally, to help get you jacked up for the week ahead, we thought you’d like to see the worst coaching hire intro video of all time. Take it away John Currie!