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New NCAA president is trying to sell NIL laws as “consumer protections” for “families and student athletes”

Mike Florio and Chris Simms rip through the top storylines coming out of owners meetings week, including when Roger Goodell’s contract extension gets done, the most underrated rule change and more.

The NCAA keeps struggling to put the NIL horse back in the barn.

New NCAA president Charlie Baker has been making the media rounds to sell a new narrative when it comes to name, image, and likeness rules. Baker describes a potential federal NIL law as “consumer protections” for “families and student athletes.”

In trotting out his talking points regarding the situation on Sunday’s Meet The Press, Baker repeated his claim that “the only thing that’s true right now about NIL is that everybody lies.”

It’s fitting, then, that the NCAA is telling its own lie. It says it wants a federal NIL law (including a standard, uniform NIL contract) to help the families and student athletes, the “consumers” of the transactions. Since when does the NCAA care about anything but NCAA institutions?

This is political spin, to put it nicely. Crap from a bull, to put it more bluntly. The NCAA wants Congress to craft a law that gives the NCAA legal cover to impose rules on players who finally have every right to make whatever money they can make from their fame. Good deal, bad deal, no deal; that’s their right to do it. Or to not do it.

The NCAA wants Congress to insinuate itself into the transactions because the NCAA no longer can, given successful antitrust litigation against an inherently corrupt business model. Does anyone really think that whatever laws the NCAA would support would be about helping players always get the best possible deals from themselves and their families? Or would the NCAA be trying to put the genie back in the bottle before this new era of NIL takes more of the money that boosters and sponsors would otherwise be giving to the schools?

That’s why the NCAA never allowed any of this in the past. There are only so many dollars that boosters can be persuaded to give to quasi-professional sports programs. Every dollar that gets diverted to NIL collectives is one fewer dollar that goes to the schools.

The NCAA finds itself in competition with the players for what used to be a vat of gravy into which no one else was dipping a chunk of bread. Now, the players are taking their fair share of the gravy. And the NCAA claims it wants to protect them from getting fat. So that schools can ideally go back to the days when they were the only ones getting fat on the gravy.

Congress should refuse to get involved. The NCAA made this mess. The NCAA gobbled up all the gravy for decades. The reckoning was overdue, and it’s now arrived. It’s not surprising that the NCAA would try to come up with a way to hoard gravy under the guise of doing the players a favor.

But that doesn’t mean Congress or anyone else should fall for it.