Is Tennessee’s new NIL law a game-changer? | Mizzou Sports News


COLUMBIA, Mo. — Less than a year into the name, image and likeness movement in college sports, we’re already rewriting the rules of the game — but not everywhere. As NIL collectives rack up their war chests for rookies and current athletes at their school of choice, new legislation in a Southeastern Conference state adds more playmakers into the process: Coaches and school administrators.

Imagine a world where a college football coach must not only recruit and coach their players, but also become business partners with the third-party collectives that shovel athlete support money — all in plain sight and perfectly legal.

This world is called Tennessee.

Last week, Governor Bill Lee signed an amendment to Tennessee’s NIL state law that allows schools to have “direct and public relationships” with the collectives that pay their athletes for their NIL, as described by the Knoxville News Sentinel. Under the state’s revised law, Tennessee Volunteers football coach Josh Heupel — or choose any varsity coach in the state, like Memphis basketball’s Penny Hardaway or baseball’s Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt – may attend and promote NIL fundraising events and host NIL representatives on campus to meet recruits and players. According to the legislative summary, the amendment removes the original provision of the law that coaches and school officials cannot be involved in “the development, operation, or promotion of an actual or potential intercollegiate athlete (NIL).” so long as they do not “constrain, coerce, or interfere” with an athlete’s decision to attend their school.

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Translation: Heupel, Hardaway, Corbin and Vols basketball coaches Rick Barnes and Kellie Harper can now develop, operate and promote sponsorship deals for a rookie or current athlete. The new law blurs the line between coaches and the collectives that pay athletes, essentially turning coaches into their own chief executives.

Additionally, the revised Tennessee law states that an athlete’s parents, spouse, siblings, grandparents, and legal guardians are not subject to the same requirements as agents who represent athletes for endorsements. . In other words, an agent must be NCAA certified to negotiate NIL agreements on behalf of the athlete, but not a parent or older sibling.

“Tennessee universities can be more involved in facilitating NIL opportunities for their student-athletes,” Spyre Sports Group CEO James Clawson told the News Sentinel. He helps lead one of the industry’s leading collectives with a stated goal of raising more than $25 million a year to pay University of Tennessee athletes for their NIL rights.

“Agencies like ours can have direct communication with the university, and that’s going to create more meaningful conversations about how best to position athletes for NIL opportunities.”

Maybe so, but how many coaches want to spend what little free time they have becoming potential brokers for NIL trades? It would be naive to assume that coaches outside of Rocky Top aren’t already involved in some NIL discussions, but legally involving schools in the process only encourages and, perhaps, compels coaches and athletic directors to s engage fully in the negotiations.

What is the local assessment? Not much – yet.

Last summer, Missouri football coach Eli Drinkwitz lobbied Jefferson City for lawmakers to advance what became the state’s bipartisan NIL law. But don’t assume there’s an appetite for legislation like the Tennessee law. A quick, informal poll of state lawmakers signaled reluctance to go the same route in Missouri. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who lobbied for the state’s NIL law last year were unaware of the Tennessee amendment. One state representative wondered if this type of law would become the tipping point that pushes Congress to establish federal safeguards to address NIL issues.

Also, don’t assume that coaches across the state favor the Tennessee model either, unless it becomes a pervasive trend that puts Missouri colleges at a clear competitive disadvantage. If the Tennessee model spreads nationally, college coaches will need a separate front office to tackle these new responsibilities. Some will surely seek refuge in professional coaching. Or more established coaches could pick up their nest egg and waltz into early retirement. See Villanova’s Jay Wright.

Speaking of unexpected departures, the NCAA announced this week that its favorite human piñata, chairman Mark Emmert, will step down effective July 2023 — or whenever the NCAA hires his replacement. That day can’t come soon enough if you ask campus officials across the country, especially those who are still waiting for Emmert’s organization to enforce sanctions for all those basketball programs swept up in the investigation. from the FBI, including the “Kansas City Jayhawks,” as Emmert called the national champions a few weeks ago when he awkwardly handed over the NCAA trophy.

There’s not enough space in the columns to rehash every one of Emmert’s missteps during his 12-year regime — a “reign of error,” as Sports Illustrated’s Pat Forde aptly put it. on his podcast this week. But across the country, athletic directors, school presidents and conference commissioners no doubt raised a toast this week to bid farewell to a leader widely ridiculed for his lack of leadership and vision over the years. year.

Who’s next in line for the big chair? Some will inevitably mention SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. Don’t count on it. He has a better job and already wields more power – real power – from his throne in Birmingham.

This week’s MVTPP (Most Valuable Transfer Portal Player) is Malachi Smith, the Southern Conference Player of the Year last season in Chattanooga. The 6-foot-4 Belleville native teamed with EJ Liddell at Belleville West to win the 2018 Illinois State Championship. While Liddell played at Ohio State, Smith became a mid-major revelation this season, averaging 19.9 points, nearly seven rebounds and three assists, and 40% shooting from 3 points. He should have a long list of suitors and could reconnect with his former coach, Lamont Paris, who is now the head coach of South Carolina.

If you follow the Missouri portal, be on the lookout for news from Jamarion Sharp in western Kentucky. The 7-foot-5 center led the nation with 4.6 blocks per game last season and just played for Mizzou’s newly hired assistant Kyle Smithpeters at John A. Logan College. Sharp didn’t enter the gate Thursday afternoon but has until Sunday before the NCAA deadline.

It’s NFL Draft Week and did you know that Mizzou’s single-season yardage leaders in passing (Chase Daniel), running (Devin West) and receiving (Danario Alexander) went undrafted? Daniel is about to enter his 14th season in the NFL. A foot injury kept West out of the league, while Alexander caught 83 passes in three NFL seasons. … Missouri associate basketball head coach Charlton Young told a great story on this week’s “Eye on the Tigers” podcast: After winning the Florida State High School Championship in 1988 as a junior at Carol City High, he told a reporter that his dream school was Missouri. “Lee Coward was one of my favorite point guards,” said Young, who instead played at Georgia Southern. “I’ve always loved black and gold. Anthony Peeler and Doug Smith, (Derrick) Chievous, I watched all those guys on TV. Young isn’t the first Carol City alum to come to Mizzou. It is also the alma mater of former Tigers forward Darryl Butterfield. … Former Mizzou ace, Collinsville native and current Red Sox right-hander Tanner Houck has found himself in the crosshairs of the Boston press. Houck is not vaccinated against COVID-19, meaning he had to miss his scheduled Tuesday departure to Toronto due to Canada’s vaccination requirements. Boston Globe columnist Dan Shaugnhessy has started calling him “Kyrie Houck” in the press lately. Ouch. “Just do it, big guy,” Shaugnhessy wrote. “You are a professional athlete. You are part of a team. Now might be the time to give up your “personal freedom” and do what’s right for the team and for everyone around you.

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