Name, Image and Likeness has been the most hotly contested topic within the realm of college sports throughout the past few years.
On one hand, athletes and their activists believe they should be allowed to profit off of their name, image and likeness in return for the millions, even billions, of dollars they aid in producing.
However, those who oppose the ability to profit off of one's name, image and likeness feel as if a scholarship is compensation enough or that it will professionalize the world of college sports.
However, all arguments came to a ceasefire on July 1, when the NCAA ruled that all athletes were eligible to profit off of their name, image and likeness.
While some may fear the professionalization of the sport, perhaps the potential monopoly created by the new rules is a more realistic fear. Through the first month and a half of the NIL rules, we have seen a plethora of elite college athletes sign deals with numerous brands.
Unfortunately, the majority of the most well-known deals have involved large brands and elite athletes at top-tier programs. For example, Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei agreed to deals with Bojangles and Dr. Pepper.
There is no doubt that the ability to pitch NIL opportunities in recruiting will create even more leverage for the top programs in the country. However, for less fortunate programs the number of elite athletes available to them may dwindle due to less opportunities for athletes to cash in on their fame.
On the other hand, one may argue that the potential monopolization of college sports is not a realistic domino of the new NIL rules. In fact, it could be argued that the new rules may benefit lesser-known athletes just as much as their more famous peers.
While large brands will stick to sponsoring the stars of the college sports world, thousands of other lesser-known athletes will also use their name, image and likeness to create some sort of income. In many cases, this has already become evident.
For example, Marshall offensive tackle Marshall Ulmer and Georgia Southern defensive lineman Gavin Adcock have used the new NIL rules to help launch their music careers. Under the new rules, both athletes are permitted to accept compensation for their performances, while also marketing and selling their music.
While the top-level programs may reap the most recruiting benefits and therefore create a much bigger gap between the smaller schools, the same smaller schools will also reap immense benefits under the new Name, Image and likeness ruling.