I Surrender

Brave Volunteer

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You know, your post is pretty accurate (though more "Saban-centric" than I have ever worried about). My issue is that, I think the across the board result of NIL and the free-for-all portal is bound to be the end of college football as I remember and loved it. It will be professional minor league football and, to me, that is a shame. I'll probably not care very much going forward because no one will be able to convince me that any of the players care at all - except for their own deals.

Next they'll change the wall sign from "I will give my all for Tennessee today" to "I will put in my time for my check today." Big difference. :confused:
Here's how I'm attempting to reconcile all this change in my mind. Ultimately I watch college football to be entertained and to celebrate the victories and lament the losses for the team I pull for. At the end of the day that's all that really matters to me. I don't particularly think it's a good idea to give 18 year old kids 5 and 6 figure payouts but as long as the product on the field remains fun to watch and we are winning, why should we personally care? I understand the viewpoint that it feels as if it ruins the integrity and purity of the sport (something that really never existed anyway). But that is more of a nebulous, intangible feeling and has very little to do with the actual on field product. At the end of the day, touchdowns are still touchdowns and wins are still wins. Whether the kid behind center is a millionaire or is broke, it makes no difference to me. I just want to see the ball in the end zone.
 

TheDeeble

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So what is the harm that will come to student athletes if they are made employees?

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey and Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff will meet with United States senators in Washington, D.C., on Thursday to ask for legislative help surrounding name, image and likeness policies.

"I have been invited to meetings with several senators tomorrow to discuss the issues we're seeing with name, image and likeness, and with the existential threat of our student-athletes being deemed to be employees," Kliavkoff told ESPN on Wednesday.

"The goal is to discuss a few of the issues facing college athletics with influential senators," Kliavkoff said. "I think it's more likely that we eventually get federal legislation on name, image and likeness, but we're also interested in discussing all of the harm that will come to student-athletes if they are deemed to be employees."
SEC, Pac-12 commissioners seek NIL help in D.C.
 

Doberman

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VFL-82-JP

Bleedin' Orange...
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You know, your post is pretty accurate (though more "Saban-centric" than I have ever worried about). My issue is that, I think the across the board result of NIL and the free-for-all portal is bound to be the end of college football as I remember and loved it. It will be professional minor league football and, to me, that is a shame. I'll probably not care very much going forward because no one will be able to convince me that any of the players care at all - except for their own deals.

Next they'll change the wall sign from "I will give my all for Tennessee today" to "I will put in my time for my check today." Big difference. :confused:
My heart's with you, Lurker, but my brain says you (and I) have been living in a fictional world when it comes to college football fandom. I'll explain.

We think of the lads as feeling great loyalty to the program. And they do tend to GROW that loyalty, over time, once they're on board. They become part of the brotherhood of Tennessee football. It gets into their blood--well, most of them. Exceptions exist (*cough* Kelley Washington).

Okay, so that dynamic of growing into a team, that is not gonna change. Lads will continue to adopt the Tennessee culture, Tennessee values, Tennessee family as they spend time in Knoxville, sacrificing with their teammates for the good of the team.

But what I think you lament us losing is sort of, for lack of a better term, the pure amateurism of it all. The native son who goes to the state university and gives his heart for a culture that he's been a part of from birth. Real tribalism.

Problem is, that kind of college football has not existed at the P5 level for many decades. It has continued on as a facade, a spirit of amateurism if you will, but in reality it went away long before now. Since probably before you and I were born. Or at least, close to it.

Loyalty is fiendishly difficult to measure. Perhaps the only decent (though not perfect) way is to see where a lad grew up. Loyalties tend to emerge in that 8-to-18 time frame.

So I went back and did some sleuthing on this question. Took a couple of snapshots in time. First, the '98 national championship team.

Tennessee lads? There were a handful among the starters. Fellas like RB Travis Stephens (Clarksville), OL Chad Clifton (Martin), WR Cedric Wilson (Memphis), and LB Al Wilson (Jackson). These guys probably grew up bleeding orange, dreaming of playing as Volunteers. But they are outnumbered by the lads who grew up surrounded by other tribes: QB Tee Martin (LA - Lower Alabama), FB Shawn Bryson (North Carolina), RB Travis Henry (Florida), RB Jamal Lewis (Atlanta), WR Peerless Price (Ohio), DE Shaun Ellis (South Carolina), LB Raynoch Thompson (New Orleans), DB Dwayne Goodrich (Illinois), and so on.

The point? These lads arrived in Knoxville mostly as mercenaries. They went where the "pay" was best. In those days, a guaranteed scholarship and playing time were the money, the commodities of greatest interest (but probably included quite a few $100 handshakes as well, let's be honest). With time, they all became Tennessee faithful, Vols for life. But they started out as (mostly) top end high school recruits looking for a solid path to success.

But maybe that's too recent, I thought. Let's look further back. How about the '85 Sugar Vols? Our best OL, Bruce Wilkerson, and our best LB, Dale Jones, were both Tennessee lads. But a lot of that team's stars were from elsewhere: QB Tony Robinson (Florida), QB Daryl Dickey (Florida by way of Colorado), WR Tim McGee (Ohio), K Carlos Reveiz (Bogota, Columbia, by way of Miami), and so on. Again, most of these lads are Vols for Life now. But they arrived in Knoxville as freshmen mostly in mercenary mode, making their decisions on a mostly professional basis.

Even further back? The Artful Dodger, QB Condredge Holloway, perhaps THE quintessential emblem of Tennessee football from the mid-1970s, was from Alabama. Huntsville, not far across the border, but still out of state.

What those fellas experienced in college, and what today's lads will experience, is only different by a matter of degree. Lot more $$ involved, sure. But they still all start out a bit "mercenary" and grow into the culture with time (except the ones who will transfer after less than a year, of course).

There was a time when college football was, even at the highest level, full of lads like Jack Jones, who grew up bleeding a particular color and were by damned going to bleed that color for their college team. When the sport was truly amateur, and every student-athlete was first and foremost a student.

But you and I have probably never lived in that era. I certainly haven't, and I'm in my 60s.

The sport is gonna be fine. Yes, it's a bit more mercenary today than it was yesterday. But only a matter of degree. This isn't the tectonic upheaval it might initially seem.

Go Vols!
 
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LWSVOL

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I want to say at the outset that this is not a complaint about fairness. this isn't about winning or losing. This isn't about thinking that my school is now at an advantage or disadvantage.

I foresee a future where sometimes they're on top and sometimes they're not. And I'm ok with that. That's the way it's always been.

But, this NIL stuff. I surrender. The joy I had watching college football.....and I will still watch.....and I will still cheer......I'm not going to be one of those people who says they're through and you know damn well they're still watching. I'll be watching.

But, it's never going to be the same. And it sucks. It truly does.

It will not bring me the same level of joy it once did.

But, as you follow recruiting and the portal, it is utter madness. And one can say it's always been the case with recruits and money, but that's hogwash. It's never been close to this.

You've got portal numbers of anywhere from 10-20 players and recruiting classes of 20-25. Half the roster will be at the school for a year. You can't even get excited about recruiting because no one knows if the player is willing to wait two years to see the field.

It will never, ever be the same. Everyone will adapt because that's what you have to do to survive.

But, this isn't good.
agree with everything you said Gator. This will never be "college ball" again. It impacts all sports at the schools.
 

rocketskates

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Double edged sword for me. It does taint the game but for teams like Tennessee and coaches like Heupel who are trying to turn a team around quickly, it does help.
 

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