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Producers’ Pick | Aaron Taylor: Why NIL Will Ruin College Sports

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade
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May 14, 2022 12:00 am

Producers’ Pick | Aaron Taylor: Why NIL Will Ruin College Sports

Brian Kilmeade Show / Brian Kilmeade

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May 14, 2022 12:00 am

Director of College Programs for #SameHere Global and College Football Hall of Famer Aaron Taylor on the negative impact name, image and likeness will have on college sports.

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I think we've got to try to get back to first principles, and I worry that we're about to kill the Golden Egg here. That's former Secretary of State now with the NCAA helping out, and that is Condoleezza Rice. Obviously, her dad was a football coach and has great passion for sports. He's going to be a great commissioner of football, but she echoes what a lot of people say. They love college sports.

A lot of my listeners right now love it. And they wonder, as much as their heart goes out to these kids that aren't going to go pro and they wonder if they're going to get paid ever for the time they put in, I'm not sure this is the best way to go forward. Aaron Taylor was so upset by what he saw. He put something that went viral onto Twitter and just talked about, and we played it last block, how upset he is about where college sports is heading, college football specifically. He's the director of college programs right now. He's a CBS sports analyst, former Super Bowl champ, first-round draft pick of the Packers, and college football Hall of Famer. Aaron Taylor, welcome. Hey, Brian, how are you, man?

I appreciate you having me on to talk about these things that are important. Yeah, I know, and we got to talk about another one of your passions, and that is some of the mental health things that go along with playing pro sports or playing sports at any level. We'll get to that, but Aaron, what brought you to the point where you sat there and looked into your camera and you said college football, college sports is in trouble? Well, it was the decision of Jordan Addison and the rumors behind the scenes that I was privy to prior to things being made public where University of Southern California was rumored to put a pool of money together around the sum of $3 million to entice him to come and join Lincoln-Reilly and that new staff that was out there and that he was seriously considering that taking place. Since then, he's joined the portal and that's an inevitability, and that's just not intercollegiate athletics in the sport that I grew up playing and the one that I became a Hall of Famer in. We have collectives, which are basically really successful men and women that are behind the scenes putting pools of money to basically entice student athletes to move from school A to school B.

And that's great for Jordan Addison and his family that makes millions of dollars, but I'm also privy to the kids that are signing away lifetime rights agreements to agents for as little as $5,000. We've seen this in baseball in the Dominican Republic when those things happen. We've seen the infiltration of street agents and what's happened with basketball and AAU, and now the holiest of the holy in college football is starting to see it as well. And this is not what we wanted when we wanted the players to enjoy a bigger piece of the pie, but yet again, it's what's happening. And when you have a win-at-all-cost mentality, everyone loses, and that's where we're headed and quickly. And you're coming from a big-time program, Notre Dame, right?

Highest academic standards of every top program, everybody knows it. They lose a lot of recruits because of it. But if they want to compete, Aaron, what are they going to do about name imaging like this? They're going to say, they used to be able to say, we got a network deal, every game's going to be on network television. That's not enough anymore.

It's not. And Notre Dame, just like everybody else, is scrambling behind the scenes to try to figure out these answers. There's always been boosters, right? The old model, back in the good old days, if you will, was that a booster made an anonymous donation to a church down in the South. The church hired the parent of the player that they wanted.

The church kept their cut, the player and the family got their cut, and player A goes to university A, and everybody was happy. But now it's all out in the open, and it's this arms race. And I really believe that what's driving this is the college football playoff and the financial bonanza that that has become. The television deals are starting to come up, the Big Ten is going to break the bank, but the college football playoff 2.0, if we get to 8 or 12 teams or wherever we end up, that is going to be a number that is going to make people's eyes pop out of their head.

So this is an arms race. Everybody's trying to position themselves back to relevancy, and no different than what we see in pro sports franchises or the New York Yankees. People are trying to buy their way to success, and the unintended consequences of that could be fatal for what we've known as college football. So it could end up being the NFL without the salary cap.

That's a great analogy. It's exactly what it has a chance to be, and it's free agency without rules. There's nothing to keep a player that signs and takes this money from going to another place. Is that what coaches want? I call college football games every fall for the last 15 years. Most of my friends are coaches.

What they talk about consistently is how hard it is to de-recruit these 15, 16, 17, 18-year-old kids when they arrive on campus because they've been gassed up and been patted on the back through social media and all the other means, and the schools are guilty of it as well. What's it going to be like when a kid shows up with a $2 million signing bonus and then decides, you know what, I don't feel like I want to play? There's a human nature element to this, Brian, and I was guilty of it, and I'm not proud of this, but when I got drafted, I took my foot off the gas pedal a little bit because I had made it. I had arrived. I had reached my goal.

It's hard to resist those things. And there were also parents and friends and former teammates that came out of the woodwork. I became a target and a victim.

Everybody had their hand out. That was tough for me to navigate at 21, and now we want these 18-year-old kids to do that? We've got to figure this out quickly. So I'm talking to Aaron Taylor, former Notre Dame superstar who went on to the NFL, top pick, went to Super Bowls and now is an outstanding broadcaster but cares a lot about the game where he's in the College Hall of Fame.

So Aaron, you look at what's going on right now. Most people don't go pro. There's an illusion out there for casual fans that those people you see in the NCAA basketball tournament, those people you see playing Division I football are all going to be pro, and it's not close to the case. So if we want to get some type of compensation with the player, knowing that people are being litigated, and this really started in California with the Ed O'Bannon case, what is the happy medium? I mean, I know there needs to be an emergency meeting to set up the parameters, but have you thought about what an effective way to pay the players would be?

Yeah, I think it's important, Brian, to step back first, and I think we throw around the term pay-to-play kind of willy-nilly, and that's not an accurate depiction of what's going on. It's always been about proportional participation. It's been a compensation. Athletes have always been compensated to receive value for the value they brought in the form of tuition, room, and board, a scholarship. That's great. But the other stakeholders have exponentially benefited from their piece of the pie.

It's grown massively while the players have stayed mostly the same. I've always thought that having some sort of annuity or stipend or control around the participation and the revenues that you receive upon graduation would incentivize kids to stay at school, to stay at the school that they're at, and maybe protect themselves from themselves a little bit until they've gone through college and maybe learned some of the blocking and tackling and brushing and flossing of financial literacy. Those are among the things that are necessary. And here's the deal.

NIL isn't the culprit, but it can be the hero. It's been amazing that two years removed from Stanford, shutting down 16 of its varsity programs because there was no money, that we're at this point now where there's hundreds of millions of dollars that are being raised in phone calls that are behind the scenes, and I've got mine from my alma mater as well. Everybody is scrambling to figure this out. But why aren't we doing that for mental health? There's going to be a correlated component to this where it adds even more pressure to these student athletes that have so much going on with a higher chance of anxiety, less likely to report what's going on with them because we always wear our game face, burnout because of this single-sport focus that we've been going on. There's going to be a negative impact on the mental health of these student athletes, particularly the high-profile ones where they start getting booed in stadiums, where they start to crack underneath the pressure. So let's take responsibly some of this NIL money and redirect a portion of it to create a holistic, integrated, collaborative cultural change from a multimodal process to create a basket of support for these student athletes to at least help them navigate what this new landscape is we're going on.

I love to golf. On golf carts, there's a governor because if there wasn't, we would all drive 50 miles an hour on the dang golf course. We have to put a governor on this, and that means oversight in rules. And NCAA is a headless horseman right now.

It's a dead man walking in the water with Mark Emmert sitting down in the 9-0 Supreme Court's justice decision. So we have to have some sort of intervention. It scares me to death that it may be congressional because we know how that can work out sometimes. But I think the institutions, the adults in the rooms, have to instill their own responsibility here, and that's a big ask because historically, they've been incapable of that. A couple of things.

Aaron, back up a second. Mark Emmert, who's going to be resigning, right, from the NCAA president, what do you mean he's taking a seat on a 9-0 ruling? The NCAA has no right to govern this?

Yes, they have no right to limit compensation based on the name, image, and likeness as it relates to intercollegiate athletics and what the student-athletes bring to the table. That was it. They got kneecapped.

It was chop-block. It was a personal foul. They got thrown out of the game. It was over at that point, and that's created this confluence of the perfect storm of name, image, and likeness, where players can receive money. But prior to that, we created something called the transfer portal, where players can put their name in, say, hey, I'm single and ready to mingle, and another school can give them a scholarship. And if they get that scholarship, they are immediately eligible to play. It's the confluence of all of these things that has created this mad rush in this Wild West that we heard Condoleezza Rice talk about, and it's always been the unintended consequences.

And the players paying the biggest price, that's always been the case, and it's about to be on steroids here as we go forward. This episode is brought to you by Samsung. Unfold the all-new Galaxy Z Fold 4 and expand your world. With flex mode, it stands on its own, so you're hands-free to get more done during calls. And with multi-window view, you can use up to three apps at the same time. Plus, the edge-to-edge screen allows you to fully immerse yourself in your favorite games and shows.

Visit to learn more about Galaxy Z Fold 4. I want you to hear Bill Snyder, the long-time successful coach of Kansas State. Here's what he told us in December. I have some mixed emotions. Players deserve some help. The time commitment is amazing when you get into collegiate athletics, but I also definitely oppose to the way that it has started out. You know, a young person can go out and cut a deal, so to speak. He can get 250,000. Another guy can go out and get a million.

And in my eyes, it creates a great separation within a program. I mean, your quarterback can probably go out and get what he wants or your star running back. An offensive lineman probably gets nothing. Sooner or later, those guys are going to look at each other and say, why are we blocking for this guy behind us? It just creates some problems. Do you see that scenario? Because you know what it's like on the field.

Oh my God, Brian. Let me tell you what. When I go back through any year that I was at Notre Dame and imagine some of those guys, even at Notre Dame where we kind of hand select dudes that are willing to go to a small place and be challenged in the classroom, but we're nationally, right?

We show up from everywhere. Putting millions of dollars in five or six of my teammates' pockets at any one of my four years at Notre Dame would have been a disaster. Think about the kids that are already hard to control. You give them that FU money is what they call it in the NFL. And excuse me for using those initials, but it's going to be a disaster.

And Bill was absolutely right. If you go out to a game after dinner and a guy's making $100,000 and somebody else isn't and you don't buy him a drink or a meal, that's going to create resentment. And that's what I'm so scared about. It's not that these kids are receiving a greater piece of the pie, it's what that's going to do to the very fabric of teamwork and trust and commitment and accountability and togetherness. Winning at all costs is going to leave us all in a situation where we're going to lose because it violates, like a termite, it erodes the very fabric and foundation of what makes sports what it is. And I don't know if we want that on the professional level to infiltrate intercollegiate athletics, but I think if we closed our eyes and opened them with no intervention right now, we're going to be looking at the Premier League of Soccer and what they enjoy over in Europe, and that ain't what we want.

I hear you because people like the idea of a student athlete. They go to my school, I'm going to that school because Joe Montana went to Notre Dame. Maybe that brought you there. You know, whatever it was. Now all of a sudden, well, yeah, I went to that school, but I didn't go to class. You know, I'm getting $5 million. You're going to kick me out? Well, how about this? I go to that school, I'm not starting right away. Okay, really?

I'm going into the portal. I'm going to get more money to go to USC next time. Real quick, Aaron, because we can go on forever and we're going to talk about this this weekend on One Nation and we'll have Oliver Luck with you, too, because he's concerned as well. You know, his son is Andrew Luck and he's with college football, pro quarterback himself. But, Aaron, who is done, do you think, if you don't mind calling, who's abusing the situation or who's making the most of the lack of rules so far in this situation?

What universities? Well, to name names, I'd have to name all 130. Everybody is doing it.

There's been a lot that's been made about some schools in the Southeastern Conference that rhyme with Shmexus, Shmay and M. That's an example that a lot of people talk about and point to, but they're not alone in what they're doing. Everybody is complicit in this, Brian, and that's the problem. It's an arm race.

It's a free for all. People are trying to position themselves and buy their way to relevancy. And in that process are sports that's based on regionality and history and tradition and pageantry and rivalry.

We're going to bankrupt the best things about the best and most popular sport in this country if we don't get these things under wraps. And that's everybody's responsibility. All right, Aaron Taylor, real quick, the Healthy Minds Network, how do we find out more about it? Yeah, Healthy Minds and the same here, Global Network is a global alliance of entertainers and sports stars and people in the media like yourself that are efforting to change the global narrative about mental health. We have to make this everyday conversation because just like a bad back or a sprained knee or an ACL, we have to start talking about mental health for what it is.

And that's just health. Aaron Taylor, thanks so much. Appreciate it. Great insight. Appreciate your passion. Thank you, Brian. Thanks for the opportunity, brother.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-02-15 03:13:50 / 2023-02-15 03:21:15 / 7

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