NCAA Picked The Wrong Fight With The Wrong Vol - And Response (2)

  • Saturday, February 24, 2024

Charlie Daniels of the CDB would start each live concert by shouting “Ain’t it good to be alive and be in Tennessee!” - no matter where his band was playing that evening.

RIP Charlie.

Today the college football world should be shouting “Ain’t it good to be alive and be thanking Tennessee” because of the Big Orange victory over the NCAA Nazis.

A federal judge has sided with the Big Orange and has barred the NCAA Nazis from enforcing their Name, Image and Likeness (“NIL”) rules because they violate federal antitrust law and harm student-athletes.

As every Big Orange fan knows, the NCAA Nazis attempted to bully the Big Orange over a private jet trip involving our future Heisman trophy candidate, Nico Iamaleava.

I was on that flight with Nico’s family and Haslam Airlines didn’t even provide a meal, just some stale Biscotti cookies.

Although the NCAA Nazis have no current issues with Big Orange “Happy Meals” to UT players, a university cannot use NIL money to induce a player to choose one school over another. Really? What reality does the NCAA live in?

Instead of apologizing for the Haslam Air junket and saying “Thank you sir, may I have another?”, our UT Chancellor sent a scathing letter to the NCAA. Donda “The Hammer” Plowman ripped the NCAA president, calling out the the NCAA as a “failing organization” which has created “extraordinary chaos” that student-athletes and universities are trying to navigate.

Spot on, Madame Chancellor.

The NCAA lives in a world of lollipops, unicorns and rainbows if they think a university can offer money to student-athletes but cannot tell them the amount of the offer until they actually commit to that university. Under this upside down reality, the student-athletes become like a contestant on Let’s Make a Deal, choosing what’s behind curtain #2, without knowing what’s behind Curtain #1 or #3.

Except this is not a game show. College athletics is a billion dollar industry, grinding out that money on the backs of every unpaid amateur athlete.

The NCAA opened up this can of worms the day it approved amateur athletes receiving money for their Name, Image and Likeness from universities. They failed to provide any guidelines whatsoever, hoping the marketplace would provide the guardrails on which to keep the NIL train on the tracks and the money flowing.

The NCAA knuckleheads actually believed that NIL money to amateur athletes and NCAA’s fundamental principle “that third parties cannot pay recruits to attend a particular school” could co-exist.

The federal court decision confirmed this stupidity and stated the obvious: NIL money has changed the landscape of college athletics forever and the NCAA has dropped the ball by failing to provide guidelines to the universities on how to navigate this new terrain.

And this is the current and uncharted NIL terrain: a university can use a donor’s Learjet 60 XR to fly in a 5 star from Cali to accept 8 million from the Volunteer Club, in hopes of leading Vol Nation to the Promised Land.

It just took a Vol to remind the NCAA that it’s good to be alive and be in Tennessee.

C. Mark Warren

* * *

Accurate and well said.

Kevin Hargis

* * * 

Mr. Warren,

Most of your post is correct. But the part about the donors and Nico is incorrect. Nico is represented by Sprye Sports, they do have ties to Tennessee but his contract that he signed in high school was signed with the company no matter what college he went to. They are who paid for his trips, not anyone related to Tennessee. They even released a statement with all of this information. This is why the Vols are not worried and doubled down. As a lawyer I figured you would research this before going on a public forum. I have copied it below directly from Sprye Sports public statement. Have a blessed day and Go Vols.

"In early 2022, independent of the University of Tennessee or anyone associated with its athletics program, Spyre Sports entered into a mutually beneficial contractual relationship with Nico lamaleava that involved a limited assignment of his NIL rights, no matter which school he chose to attend. Such "representation agreements" have become increasingly common. The parties agreed that their contractual rights and obligations would be governed by California law, which freely allows prospective college athletes to enter into such agreements.

The commercial reasonableness of the agreement between Spyre and Nico was evidenced by a recitation that Spyre anticipated Nico would eventually be drafted by an NFL team. The agreement also specifically acknowledged the restrictions prohibiting the use of any school's or team's "logo or insignia."

The agreement required Spyre to protect the value of Nico's NIL rights and specifically stated that "nothing in [the] agreement constitutes any form of inducement to ATHLETE to enroll at any school and/or join any athletic team."

In short, the agreement was fully consistent with then existing NCAA NIL "guidelines" and had nothing to do with recruiting Nico to the University of Tennessee or any other school.

Spyre Sports and the Vol Club currently represent more than 100 college athletes and are proud to have helped them maximize the value of their legally protected name, image, and likeness."

Christopher Cooper

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