Alabama Crimson Tide: NCAA can’t punish Will Wade (and others) now


Alabama Crimson Tide players will benefit from the new name, image and likeness (NIL) rules. The payments athletes will receive are certainly deserved, particularly for the players in the NCAA ‘cash cow’ sports of football and men’s basketball. The new rules are justifiable on the basis of fairness.

Complaining how the NCAA, for many years, botched this tremendous change in college athletics is valid, but looking forward is more important. College sports will never be the same. Even with the apparent plusses for many athletes, what will transpire overall cannot be predicted. Being wary of unintended consequences is not unwarranted.

Speaking on Sirius XM, SEC Commissioner, Greg Sankey said,

"It will be different going forward. We’re in a transformational moment around college athletics. Many of us, and I say that broadly, have to reconsider what we expect of college sports and what we provide out of college sports and how that’s to be administered. And those, you know, those questions have lingered for decades. That seems to be lost right now. We’re rapidly accelerating through some of this change and we’re going to have to be thoughtful. I hope we will be."

One thing the NIL change will not solve is removing disparities from college sports. Letting a market determine the value of individual players will produce a wide range of compensation. Players from non-revenue sports will generate far less compensation for themselves, if any at all.

On the opposite end of that spectrum is Alabama Crimson Tide Football. Many of Nick Saban’s players may gain handsome rewards. That is a good thing, as it would have been, had Najee Harris been able to benefit from a painting of him leaping over a tackler.

The flip side is encouraging more ‘me’ and less ‘we’ in college sports. In an attempt to be more marketable, will any Alabama Crimson Tide players focus too much on individual stats, to the detriment of team goals? And if any of them do, how do Nick Saban and the Alabama football coaching staff respond?

Alabama Crimson Tide fans still waiting for Will Wade to be punished

There is another issue that, as yet, is being given little notice. It is how can the NCAA now punish Will Wade (and others) for buying players. Guilt is no longer an issue. Why? Because the new rules are going to open the door for endorsement deals and other compensation arrangements for every high-profile recruit. The promise of future earnings will certainly impact many school choices. The new rules are a glide path to ‘legalized’ cheating that will be used by unscrupulous programs.

More than just Alabama Crimson Tide fans have a complaint about Wade.

There was a Thursday tweet, supposedly quoting an unnamed assistant coach who said recruiting time will now be best spent putting together NIL deals.

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In short, in the worthy pursuit of fairness and addressing financial disparity, new disparities will exist. Will the new ones be less bad than the old ones? Hopefully, but no results are assured.