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Oklahoma State Football

Big 12 Stars Talk NIL Opportunities and New Landscape Of College Football

July 14, 2021

ARLINGTON, Tx – Every year, at an event like Big 12 Media Day, there are going to be a handful of topics that will come up in numbers regardless of who is on the stage or behind the mic. 

This year, one of those topics in the new Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rules that went into effect around the country on July 1, allowing collegiate athletes to benefit financially through sponsorships and various avenues off the field or court. 

The commissioner was asked, the coaches were asked and obviously the players were asked, all in abundance. 

During the player breakout sessions, I went around to each player table and got the opinion and thoughts on the NIL rules and how those players feel about the new landscape of college sports.

The consensus feeling is ultra-positive and excited for the opportunities available to them as well as the ones to come. There were a few of them that were excited about the new rules but are also staying neutral as of now to wait until the dust settles before deciding on a specific route to go. 

There were no players who were against NIL.

Here are some of the players and their quotes:

Breece Hall, Iowa State Running Back - “During this whole NIL process, it’s been fun, it’s been stressful, it’s been all of it. I found that with me, if I just sit down with my family and discuss what kind of deals I wanted to do and just making sure I’m getting the best deals possible, that’s been a really good process and I’ve been learning a lot.”

Hall was asked if he knew of a number that college players will be making with NIL and he responded, “Honestly, I couldn’t tell you, I just know that with my platform, I was going to have a lot of opportunities and I knew going through this process was going to be real good for me and fun for me.”

Jahron McPherson, Kansas State Linebacker - “I think it’s a great opportunity and for guys around the nation as well. As for me so far, I’m just sitting back and watching, I don’t intend to do anything yet but I think it’s a great opportunity.”

Ochaun Mathis, TCU Defensive End - “I can say for the most part that it’s changed my mind because I have done so many presentations in classes and just seeing it come true is groundbreaking. Athletes deserve to be paid off of their name. Seeing so many jerseys being sold, or things based of players just didn’t sit right with me.”

Dante Stills, West Virginia Defensive Lineman - “There is definitely a lot of people approaching me but at the same time, I’m telling them I’m gonna be patient and I’ll get back to them because I want to focus on my football right now but its great opportunities for players across the country.”

There were several coaches throughout the day who also spoke in depth on the topic and specifically how it would be used in recruiting. Nearly every school has adopted or formed a system that will be used to help players grow their exposure whether it be through social media or in person partnerships. 

For those who are interested in players and possible NIL possibilities, it is important to note that these are team captains and faces of program that are making these comments, not just your average depth player. Guys in their position know that they will have the opportunities to make some real money in several different ways. 

Nearly all of the coaches had positive things to say on NIL and there were no negative remarks in regard to players making money. They know that it will become a natural part of college sports soon enough, so they are making the efforts to get in front of it and use it to their advantage. It will be a recruiting tactic and for some schools, even a way to help retain players by not having players enter the portal or try to leave early for the NFL because they need to help their family with money. 

If they are able to maximize their potential by making money while getting an education and trying to make it to the next level, is that not the best ideal scenario?

There has been a very positive buzz in regard to NIL and while some people on the outside may have thought it was going to change college sports, it will. But for the better.

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