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INDIANAPOLIS, IND. — The college football landscape looks completely different today compared to the past, even just a few years ago. The world of college football looks different for numerous reasons, but the main two are arguably the biggest: Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) and the ever-revolving conference expansion.
During Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday in Indianapolis, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren noted the joining of USC and UCLA in the year 2024 and the opportunities that arise with their addition to the conference. “We are blessed now, especially with the addition of the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Southern California, that we will have a footprint in the three major media markets from New York to Los Angeles to Chicago, which will allow us to be even bolder when it comes to corporate partnership and activation,” said Warren. “So I’ll look forward to building a very successful and robust business in that area.”
He talked about how the Big Ten was finalizing its media rights and an announcement would be coming sooner rather than later — there is a bunch of different networks trying to get their hands on the Big Ten media rights. Of course, when the Big Ten announces this major agreement, money will be flowing in, so the commissioner had some questions to answer about NIL. Warren said he was a big proponent of NIL for student-athletes, so talks will happen in the future.
“Name, image and likeness is another area that we’ve been talking about this last, past year”, said Warren. “I still strongly believe — I’m a big proponent of name, image and likeness. I am so grateful that many of our student-athletes have been blessed with the ability to monetize their name, image and likeness. That said, I am disappointed that we still have to operate with these various patchwork of laws from a state-level standpoint. We need federal legislation to help put in some guardrails to make it even more cleaner, to make sure these name, image and likeness is not used as a recruiting inducement.”
Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh was at the first day of Big Ten Media Days on Tuesday, and he has an idea for NIL in the Big Ten. He believes that once the Big Ten signs its mega TV deal, it should administer money to the student-athletes for using their Name, Image, and Likeness. He talked about how the television companies use the players’ names, and how they show their image on the screen.
“Yeah, I mean, the Big Ten even,” said Harbaugh. “They use their name image and likeness on the TV broadcasts, they’re the ones signing the mega TV deals. The new ones coming in 2024. Why can’t that be TV deal from the Big Ten. Because that’s who’s negotiating the TV deals and that’s where the big money is.”
Harbaugh was also asked about the reported $13-million NIL deal that Ohio State has for its football players. Harbaugh sure-handily said he believes Michigan could double that, but he didn’t go into much detail on how that would happen.
“My thoughts were I think we can do more,” said Harbaugh. “I think maybe we can even double that at Michigan. I think that’s possible. And I think it’s going in a terrific direction that way. I mean, you know me, I’ve always been for NIL I believe players should have a share in the revenues. And I think that’s something that’s really possible at Michigan, so I think that’s where we’re headed.”
It should be noted that Kevin Warren said that the Big Ten is starting a student-athlete advisory committee that will speak with the current Big Ten athletes to grasp what they may need. He said that anything is on the table including talks about NIL.