Sports

NCAA swears fealty to NIL collectives, pauses investigations

The NCAA pretty much had its last real vestige of power stripped after the ruling in the Tennessee case last week, and on Friday, announced that it’s pausing all investigations into booster-backed collectives or other third parties making NIL deals. Despite the chaos and malfeasance that will continue to grow unchecked, this feels right.

Harkening back to when states started legalizing weed and/or sports gambling, just let these dispensaries and casinos operate freely. It’s the federal government/NCAA’s fault that systems are flawed and running themselves. There’s too much money being made and too many legal hurdles to stop it now, so police yourselves.

The longer NIL collectives control college football, the larger the gap will grow between the haves and the have-nots. This pause is essentially indefinite as NCAA president Charlie Baker doesn’t have a suitable backup plan because his plan was an antitrust exemption from the government that’s held up by myriad lawsuits.

“There will be no penalty for conduct that occurs consistent with the injunction while the injunction is in place,” Baker said in a statement sent to The Associated Press. “I agree with this decision, while the progress toward long-term solutions is underway and while we await discussions with the attorneys general. In circumstances that are less than ideal, this at least gives the membership notice of the board’s direction related to enforcement.”

No, Charlie, this gives membership notice to start fundraising for collectives. You’re glad schools got the memo that you’re officially done doing your job? Great.

This doesn’t mean that the NCAA is totally powerless. They’re glorified event planners who charge exorbitant fees. Even conduct outside of recruiting and NIL stuff has kind of been taken over from the NCAA by the conferences.

The most notable recent example was the Jim Harbaugh sign-stealing scandal, and it was the Big Ten who suspended the former Michigan coach, not the NCAA. All Baker and the NCAA have to do is stop trying to uphold this farce, and instead help usher in a system that’s fair, safe, and sustainable. (That’s applicable for weed shops and sportsbooks, too.)

There’s enough cash to do this correctly. If people stopped trying to grab as much as they can, everybody could net their fair share and then some.

Warriors benefiting from a focused GM

The Golden State Warriors have won 11 of 13 games, and a lot of people might point to Draymond Green’s resurgence post-suspension. However, there’s real depth to this team that should be credited to Mike Dunleavy Jr. The Dubs beat Toronto, 120-105, Friday night behind Steph Curry’s 25 and Jonathan Kuminga’s 24.

As Kuminga and Moses Moody are finally developing consistency, the team has been stabilized in areas it otherwise wouldn’t as Klay Thompson’s existential crisis continues. New contributors young and old — Brandin Podziemski, Trayce Jackson-Davis, Dario Saric, and Chris Paul — have the Warriors demonstrably more dangerous this year.

Call it a perk of Bob Myers’ departure. The former Golden State GM is now in the NFL spreading his particular brand of branding, and lord help the Washington Commanders. Hopefully, he’s more invested in actually doing his job than being a media personality.



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