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TCR OP-ED: Illinois would own NCAA Sports under an Olympic Model of Amateurism

Our alumni can and will outspend your alumni.

North Carolina v Duke Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The Zion Williamson injury has revived the semi-annual debate about paying college players. The New York Times featured an OP-ED this week arguing against paying players while the Washington Post ran an OP-ED from California State Senate member, Nancy Skinner, in favor of allowing players to pursue their own commercial opportunities without the schools paying them directly. This latter is commonly referred to as the “Olympic Model.” In fact, Nancy Skinner has proposed a bill in California that would allow college athletes to pursue their own commercial opportunities while in college. I, personally, have always been in favor of the Olympic Model as have members of our mothership — SB Nation.

Nonetheless, an unintended consequence of the Olympic Model is that it will invariably lead to an online pissing match about which alumni base would outspend all others in the free market for high school recruits.

So, if the NCAA adopted the Olympic Model, who would outbid who? Would the free market worshipers at Vanderbilt outspend everyone? Would it be the oil and gas bros at Texas A&M? Could it be the proud Michigan Men? Maybe it’s the Stanford libertarians? Don’t forget about Notre Dame and their hoards of subway alumni? What about the engineers at Purdue? Lol...nope...none of those!! It’s the University of Illinois!!!!!

I’m going to go ahead and declare that your alumni do not want to compete with UIUC alumni in the free market for HS Athletes because, let’s be frank: Illinois will embarrass you and your fellow alumni. Illini Alums (**to be clear, I am not one but I understand their power in a free market for HS Athletes**) basically invented the internet and will outspend, out-hustle, outsmart, out-everything your alma mater’s alumni. So, be careful what you wish for, Nancy Skinner. The last thing you want is Illinois, with all the blue chip athletes Illinois’ alumni will acquire for their alma mater in the free market, heading out to the Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena and embarrassing one of your beloved California schools.

Everyone be forewarned, the unintended consequence of the NCAA adopting the Olympic Model will be unlocking the Sleeping Giant that sits equidistant between Chicago and St. Louis.

For vintage inspired, high quality, and well-designed University of Illinois apparel, check out Fourth and Kirby, and look for the TCR Collection while you’re at it!