Boston College Goes It Alone with NIL – Can they Compete?

The new Boston College athletic director Blake James had an interview BC Interruption, a longtime friend to LetsGoDU, regarding Name, Image & Likeness (NIL) legislation. In the interview, James suggested legislation was needed at the federal level to create reasonable standards and guidelines for NIL. He also mentioned that BC will not be encouraging ‘NIL collectives’ which are groups that fundraise with the sole purpose of paying student-athletes under the guise of the new Name, Image & likeness.

That is not to say that Boston College is not participating in the NIL sphere. Prior to the arrival of James, Boston College wide receiver Zay Flowers inked a NIL deal in April with McGovern Auto, a local dealership. The company, which is led by Boston College graduates, presented Flowers with a brand new silver X6M BMW with red interior. The car was also equipped with 22-inch black rims and the vehicle’s approximate value is $90,000.

“Well I think each school has to take their own approach.” said James. “And I think, my belief is that we as an institution shouldn’t be involved in that if there’s opportunities for young people to capitalize on their name image and likeness. I recognize that’s where we’ve gone in college athletics and that’s where it’s going to be in the future. And that goes back to my previous comments on the need for some type of federal set-up because from my perspective I don’t think it’s something that we should be talking about, the donors needing to give to these different types of things. To me, we should be talking about legitimate name image and likeness.

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“Right now we’re in this period where there isn’t any real set standard. Everyone’s kind of playing by their own set of rules and I think it’s opened up the door to what you’re talking about where you have coaches around the country talking about “We need X amount of dollars from our supporters to be competitive” and that’s kind of a counter to what name image and likeness is really all about.”

BC has decided to address NIL in a relatively hands-off approach. As a respected private college, Boston College must leverage the value proposition of a BC degree to student-athletes instead of facilitated cash payments. However, fellow ACC football conference members Louisville, Florida State, and Clemson are likely to have alumni collectives that are able to generate hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, to pay individual athletes. Over time, we will see how BC holds up in this largely unregulated environment. And, of course, NIL is not limited to football.

DU is likely to take a similar approach to BC as will many other private schools. Can they compete? Only time will tell.

Photo: BC Bulletin

6 thoughts on “Boston College Goes It Alone with NIL – Can they Compete?”

  1. What is involved here is big time college basketball and football and those two have already been “polluted” with mega bucks. They are already professional sports in reality and college amateur sports in name only.
    This doesn’t concern our school sports. We are truly college amateur sports

    1. NIL is bleeding into other sports, too. I have heard of volleyball teams getting $75k each and hockey will likely be affected as well, especially at the Big 10 level where there are many well-heeled donors. All a sports team needs is one sugar-daddy (or mommy) willing to buy talent.

  2. Yes 200% there should be a collective-type organization – we all liked that hockey national championship thing right? I heard a rumor somewhere that small schools with very modest athletic budgets like Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Michigan have hockey programs

  3. I wish John Polli was correct.
    This has destroyed football (its not even power 5 that will compete, its going to on the order of 10 teams). Basketball will be there soon enough. It is crazy that its spreading to other sports. I fear the B10 hockey schools will soon be buying all the national championships (maybe some place like North Dakota if the Engelstad estate wants to chip in another huge contribution) . I don’t know what the answer is for ‘real college sports’ – I now exclude FBS football, and think basketball will go that way. I wish the ‘major’ FBS schools would just admit they sponsor pro teams and stop claiming to be college sports, but there is no going back. I really don’t have a clue what the solution is. This sucks

  4. The reality is that hockey is already mostly an affluent sport, and offering most hockey prospects’ families say $50,000 per year to sign with one college vs another does not generate the same financial impact as it might in football or basketball, where five figure offers may be a big difference makers in the life of someone who comes from a less privileged background.

    If the NIL offers in hockey get to six or seven figures, perhaps that will start to make a material difference in recruiting, but until then, not very much.

    In short, if DU and North Dakota are competing for the same recruit, and UND offers $50K for the kid, and DU doesn’t offer it, and DU loses that kid to UND, DU can still probably find a comparable replacement…

    1. I kind of see your point but not entirely sure I buy it. I certainly buy the fact that even a few 10’s of thousands can make a difference to a lot of football or basketball families,

      I’m talking about the implication that it doesn’t matter to hockey players. Yes a lot of US hockey players are from upper middle class (whatever that is these days), but not all. But even then, 50K may matter. I have no idea on demographics of Canadian players. But in both cases, they often spend some time in Juniors where they make a few hundred a week and even have to pay in. So they are 20 years old and haven’t made money. Who knows how much it will impact hockey, I sure don’t. But I do think if Michigan boosters want to throw a ton of money, they will eventually take over. I just don’t like it in general. BTW, Canadian Juniors leagues may be facing their own law suites about not paying players. Crazy

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