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College football’s “chaos” is self-inflicted

This is the result of the people in charge passing the buck for years

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Syracuse Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

In what is a good-news/bad-news scenario for Syracuse Orange fans, the combination of the one-time transfer waiver and NIL has thrown the college athletics world into chaos. Pittsburgh Panthers All-American wide-receiver Jordan Addison appears to be lighting the match to the gasoline fire that’s been allowed to build up the last few years.

Several reports claimed over the weekend that Addison, who had not even submitted transfer paperwork, had reached a deal with USC for a seven-figure NIL contract and other amenities (a house?). This is of course good for Syracuse in that they wouldn’t face him next year but it should make you nervous that similar problems could arise for the Orange in the future.

However this and the Isaiah Wong news aren’t signaling the death of college athletics. It also doesn’t mean this is all the NCAA’s fault either (although no one will miss Mark Emmert’s “leadership”). For years college administrators have seen where things were headed. Instead of coming together to provide players the opportunity to earn money while also maintaining some guidelines, they deferred action and tried to pass the job on to Congress.

Tampering is not new. Players leaving schools for money is not new. It’s new that it is now in the open. Those longing for the “good-ole days” are asking you to go back to the process where a third-party negotiated these deals and then players had to find reasons to get waivers to play right away.

Athletes wanted the money from the use their names in video games or a percentage of the profits from selling their jerseys but now they’ve seen their true market value and there is no turning back now that the door has been blown off. I’ll admit that this current situation isn’t ideal or sustainable but this is what happens when those with all the money and power think that handing out cost of living and academic bonuses that give athletes can compete with this

So where does college athletics go from here? It seems that they go back to where they were when they denied Northwestern’s attempts at a union. Schools will need to negoitate contracts with player associations to determine terms and conditions. You might see some schools offer more money but others could find their niche by providing better access to academic majors of interest, or lifetime benefits such as health insurance or dependent tuition.

How will they pay for it? It certainly seems like television revenue isn’t going to slow down with more streaming platforms looking to get into live sports. Maybe instead of cutting sports, schools are going to cut back on the money paid to give staff extra perks. Forget about cars and housing allowances for head coaches making seven figures, does your senior AD need to get those perks as well? Do you need to pay for country club memberships or travel expenses on top of salaries?

The current market should concern schools because the money they are looking to raise to improve facilities or attract more talent could instead be going right from boosters to players (as it has since college athletics started). It also means that the boosters shelling out this money could look to use their influence in the day to day operations of athletic departments. In the past those boosters could have been kept at arms length because of the rules, but with things out in the open what will stop them from continuing to use the press to air their complaints.

It’s going to be a bumpy ride but the reality is this has been building for a while. It also highlights that Syracuse better hurry up and figure out what it’s going to do in the NIL area because I’m not sure how many birthday parties we can send over to Apex Entertainment to keep the next All-American happy to remain in the 315.