question college football fans about their thoughts on Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) in college athletics, and you’re likely to get a mix of responses.
Some are for it, some are against it, and others, like FOX Sports college football analyst Joel Klatt, think it’s great that college athletes can take advantage of it, but acknowledge there are still a lot of issues to solve .
College football is entering a golden era with NIL offers
Joel Klatt looked at the impact of NIL bids on college athletics and how they are affecting players in the game.
“NIL has created a golden age of college football and I think we’re at the dawn of that golden age,” Klatt said on a recent episode of his podcast.The Joel Klatt Show.” “College football has never been better.”
Klatt’s reasoning for calling this a “golden age” is due to the depth of talent in the sport. Athletes able to take advantage of NIL have created an incentive for top players to return to college rather than make an early jump to the NFL.
Michigan running back Blake Corum was considered by many to be the best running back in college football last season. The 5-foot-8, 210-pound back was in the midst of a breakout junior season before a knee injury cut short his 2022 campaign.
Although Corum admitted that Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh advised him to turn pro, he made the decision to return to Ann Arbor for his senior year in hopes of leading his team to a title national The Wolverines have reached the College Football Playoff in back-to-back seasons, but have been eliminated in the semifinal round both times.
“My goals have always been to leave a lasting legacy at the winningest program in college football history,” Corum wrote in announcing his return on January 9. “Motivated by my deep love for Michigan and my commitment to my education, I have decided to return for another season.”
Corum is one of several elite players who chose to return to school rather than jump to the NFL early.
Washington QB Michael Penix Jr., who finished the 2022 season as the national leader in passing yards per game and broke the school’s single-season passing record, has decided to return for a sixth season of football university
Oregon QB Bo Nix, Penn State OT Olu Fashano and Florida State’s Jared Verse also opted to return.
“If you’re a third-to-fifth-round grade and you’re a star on your team, you’ll probably make as much or more money staying in school than you would in your rookie season in the NFL.” Klatt said. “Because of that, we are having players who would have disappeared [to the NFL] who now stay in college football.”
Top 10 prospects in the 2024 NFL Draft
Joel Klatt revealed his top 10 prospects for the 2024 NFL Draft, which includes Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr.
In addition to taking advantage of NIL opportunities that weren’t available prior to the 2021 season, players also have the ability to return to school and increase their draft value.
Corum, Penix Jr., Nix, Fashanu and Verse landed in the first round of FOX Sports NFL Draft analyst Rob Rang’s 2024 NFL Mock Draft.
“They have this year to increase their value to get to the first or second round, where there’s really life-changing money even in that first contract,” Klatt added. “These are very good problems to have if you’re a player, and if you have that option, now you have to make a real decision.”
While Klatt spoke highly of NIL and the positive impact it has had on college football, he does believe the pendulum has swung too far in the players’ favor.
In addition to earning money with NIL opportunities, players also have the ability to enter the college football transfer portal without losing a year of eligibility. According to an ESPN report, which was published on April 18, more than 6,000 NCAA football players have entered the portal since the start of the 2022 season.
“College football players have never had more power than they do now,” Klatt said. “There must be some parameters because in every contract and in every relationship, there must be the same benefits, as well as the same responsibility. There must be some recourse.
“Every good contract has benefits and liabilities. Until that happens, schools will need to take a hard look at where they are investing their money.”
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