Since are no rules to NIL, and it’s a chaotic free for all, it’s time for the ACC to think outside box to the benefit of its members.
Why can’t the ACC form conference-wide NIL agreements and how could this work?
The ACC has corporate sponsorship deals for events and product advertisements for ACC Network.
Here is what to consider.
- ACC Athletes are still completely free to form their agreements. You can’t touch that.
- The ACC already has revenue agreements for post-season events and TV revenue. Create NIL agreements with corporate sponsors and split the revenue evenly among the ACC schools like you do bowls, the NCAA Tournament, and TV revenue.
- Leave it to the ACC schools, and athletes to negotiate which athletes to take part. For example, if New York Life (ACC Tournament sponsor provides – $2 Million for the ACC. Each ACC school would get $130K. A Duke NIL advisory group could negotiate with Paulo Banchero to promote New York Life, or they could split it among their basketball program evenly.
- Notre Dame couldn’t get a full share because their football team is independent.
- Are we worried about certain athletes getting more than their teammates? That doesn’t matter right now, does it? Though if I were a school I’d probably work to make a fairly even distribution among a team.
- The ACC could be the first conference to entertain this possibility, and ACC schools slow to manage NIL dynamics now have something they can offer recruits.
- There isn’t a single brand in college sports, that’s bigger than an actual power 5 conference when it comes to negotiating power.
- You can do this by sport possibly. Maybe a sponsor doesn’t want to pay the dollars for a football team, but is willing to create agreements for baseball/softball in the postseason because the conference could have nearly 20 teams participating in those post-season events.
- How far can you take this? The ACC has rights deals with ESPN, you may be able to extend to their sponsors and their commercials – though ESPN that could muddy the waters just a little too much between ESPN and athletes. You probably want to stick largely with direct conference to sponsor negotiations.
- What about state laws? I think enough ACC states are freely allowing this to start the discussion – though that has to be considered.
Can it be done? I don’t see why not. Everything is open right now there are regulations. You have basically pay for play right now.
It could reduce the embarrassing conference in-fighting that’s plaguing the SEC right now.
Why not utilize everything available to you?
Remember when the SEC was the first to the conference championship football game? The Big 10 was the first to the conference network. The ACC could be the first to the collective conference NIL agreements.