Michigan Football: Capitalism and competition; time to pay players

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(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)

This isn’t the Michigan football of old. Players are quickly realizing their worth and, along with immense support, are rightfully demanding compensation.

Jim Harbaugh knew the narrative surrounding the name, image, and likeness (NIL) rules and regulations prior to taking the head coaching gig for Michigan football. It wasn’t enough anymore for his athletes, who are risking life and limb, to play for just a scholarship. These young men saw the earning statements of EA sports and put an end to the massive money hoarding by company executives that saw not a dime in the athlete’s pockets despite video game characters mimicking their NIL. They wanted their cut.

There are billions of dollars out there for the taking and, up until a few years ago, only a small group of individuals were dipping their hands in the pot.

The NCAA has loosened up a bit by permitting a stipend, which is unregulated and calculated by the school cutting the paycheck. It should come as no surprise that SEC programs figured out a way to pay their student-athletes thousands of dollars more than everyone else. Math can be a fickle thing, apparently.

On the NIL front, the NCAA has been all talk: forming associations, boards, commissions, and all manner of meetings without any action.

“Given the need for consistent and fair rules among all NCAA members consistent with the NCAA’s core principles, the Association formed a working group of member representatives in May to examine the issue and chart a path forward,” The NCAA said in a statement. “Then in October, the group made recommendations to the Board of Governors, which adopted them and directed the NCAA’s three divisions to pursue rules changes around name, image and likeness, kick-starting a process that will play out over the coming year and result in a national rather than state-by-state solution.”

I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for a decision.

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