Big 12 commissioner Bowlsby sees the benefits and pitfalls of NIL
ARLINGTON, Texas – When Big 12 curator Bob Bowlsby took the stage at Big 12 Media Days, the topic of name, image and likeness was popular. Bowlsby said the conference looked at NIL policies; he found both pros and cons for student-athletes.
“Well, I’m not going to grant you that they don’t benefit from it. I still think varsity athletics is about helping 18-year-olds grow into 22-year-olds and, in doing so, get a good education and have a good sporting experience.
“If having a professional career or an opportunity to compete in the Olympics is in your future, it’s a highly desirable by-product of a college education. I think there is a lot to be gained from participating in varsity athletics. We also made sure to optimize what we provided in terms of benefits for family travel and that sort of thing under current NCAA rules. The NIL as far as PCP goes, I think, is probably an unknown at this point. “
The rules are still in their infancy and in development, but early interpretations were unclear on the use of school marks. It could also extend to college football playoffs and open up questions of collective bargaining and revenue sharing.
“You certainly – just as one might wonder whether or not you can appropriate institutional intellectual property, it is probably a good question to ask whether you could appropriate varsity football playoff intellectual property for use with. your NIL. But that’s not to say that the student-athletes couldn’t substantially activate their participation in the college football qualifiers.
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“I think there will be these opportunities, and I think some of them could be quite lucrative. Are we moving towards revenue sharing? I don’t believe we are. I hope not. I think that would be a very bad step. I think even if you could suggest it’s a matter of fairness, you know, I would suggest as a former college wrestler that there isn’t a football player in America who worked harder than me, and yet they have the benefit of an adoring audience, and I haven’t.
For many, the worry is that NIL will continue to tip the balance of power towards teams with more money. Bowlsby has acknowledged that the idea of a level playing field is a mistake, but they are doing what they can to make sure the landscape doesn’t get out of hand.
“I think the level playing field has always been a bit of a mirage. We try to do this across scholarship and coach boundaries, competition boundaries and the like, but some places are easier to recruit than others. Some places are easier to get transfers than others. There’s not much you can do with rules to create a level playing field. And so I really think that’s another area where there are places that have advantages and there are places that have disadvantages, and I don’t think that’s ever going to change.
“That said, we spend a lot of time at the conference level discussing what the Alston decision should do for our scholarship program. We spend a lot of time trying to suggest things to our members that will guide them. We can make rules at the conference level, and we can very well do that on NIL and other things before it’s all settled. On the other hand, what the courts have said is that we can’t spend time talking to the SEC or the Big Tenor Conference USA about what they think they need to do and making rules about it. this fashion where we all do the same things. This is what we have had our fingers on from an antitrust point of view. “