Clemson Football has kept up in the world of NIL, despite perceptions to the contrary. Just because the program doesn’t use NIL the same way other schools use it doesn’t mean they don’t use it at all.
One of the reasons that the NCAA and others have pursued federal NIL legislation is to create a consistent set of laws governing it across state lines. Right now, different states have different laws. Some of those laws give schools in certain states advantages over schools in states that have more restrictive laws.
Please note I said consistency among states is ‘one of the reasons’. The NCAA has other motivations as well, but that’s a different conversation.
Ross Dellinger of Yahoo Sports quoted a post by Dan Murphy of ESPN yesterday on X, and provided a summarization of some changes being considered by the NCAA:
Some states allowed such participation by schools from the beginning, while other states have modified their laws to permit it.
Murphy quotes Nebraska AD Trev Alberts in his article:
"“Let’s be honest. Some of the stuff we’re talking about now, we would have never even had a conversation about two years ago. The goalposts keep moving. We keep sliding further and further. Some of the things early on that were impermissible, it’s time to rethink those things.”"
Alberts doesn’t go into detail about why such conversations wouldn’t have happened, but I think he is probably referencing two complications. As noted, varying state laws made some things a challenge.
I think the other reason had to do with the general sentiment of a lot of fans of college football, and college sports in general. There were a lot of fans that pushed back against NIL. Many considered players making money, regardless of the source, as immoral and antithetical to the mission of college athletics.
My observation is that the perception from fans has shifted somewhat. There are still plenty of people who are anti-tampering and anti-enticements, but far fewer are rejecting the new reality of college sports outright, and instead supporting initiatives to make the marketplace fairer and more equitable for both teams and players.
Perceptions of NIL have shifted among Clemson Football fans
When NIL started, there was a belief that schools should be hands-off, allowing players to negotiate independently, away from the influence of the school. Sentiment now is that it likely is better for players for schools to be able to become involved in such matters. Similarly, it is simpler for the schools to be a part of the conversation instead of on the outside looking in.
In some ways, these changes will be cosmetic. Some schools operate this way already, and the NCAA has done little to enforce previous NIL regulations that technically prevented it. To some, this is the NCAA getting rid of a rule that it wasn’t enforcing in the first-place, regardless of reason.
In the long run, these changes will make it simpler for all schools and players to make NIL work in their mutual best interests, and will benefit Clemson. If these new guidelines find final approval, there are several ways the Tigers can begin assisting players with NIL initiatives that were previously a violation of NCAA regulations.