University of Oregon and Quinnipiac University host a webinar discussing NIL’s and their impact on the future of collegiate sports

Julius Millan, Staff Writer

Quinnipiac University and the University of Oregon co-hosted a webinar on the future of collegiate sports April 6 featuring QU administrators and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy.

Illustration by Peyton McKenzie

The hour-long discussion spanned a variety of topics around collegiate name, image and likeness agreements with student-athletes, including the future ramifications NIL agreements will have across the NCAA and how players could be paid by the universities they play for.

Name, image, and likeness, or NIL for short, describes the ways college athletes can receive financial compensation. Icon Source, a marketing agency that specializes in securing NIL agreements with college athletes, describes autograph signings, product endorsements, social media posts as some ways they can make money through their NIL. 

The webinar’s format consisted mostly of Olian introducing a question to which Sen. Murphy, Schill or Amodio responded, sparking a discussion that lasted around five to 10 minutes at a time.

When Olian asked Murphy about the rights of student-athletes, Murphy expressed his disapproval of the current state of collegiate athletics.

“I just don’t buy that this is amateur athletics any longer,” Murphy said. “Anybody that watched that national championship game saw that superdome filled with fans and all the presenting sponsors couldn’t really distinguish the products on the field from the product in the pros.”

In contrast, Schill saw collegiate and professional sports as separate entities while advocating for NIL regulations on a national level.

“What we need to do is make sure the NIL reflects the value that the students’ name, image and likeness has instead of inducement of donors and boosters,” Schill said. “We need federal legislation that provides a uniform, federal definition of allowable NIL so everybody’s on an even playing field.”

Schill suggested the NCAA be given a limited exemption to antitrust laws so it could enforce the NIL regulations.

Amodio said he wants student-athletes interested in pursuing NIL arrangements to have opportunities to understand the agreements.

“We want this to happen, and the best way for this to happen is if we put educational modules in place to walk the student-athletes through this,” Amodio said.

Amodio also stressed the importance of getting a degree from universities on top of receiving NIL contracts.

“The vast majority of individuals will not be able to use their athletic prowess to make a living in the future so there’s still nothing more important than the four-year degree that that student-athlete will walk away with,” Amodio said. “That will form the building blocks for their future.”

Later in the webinar, Olian pointed out how university athletic programs were already on an uneven playing field before the NIL agreements came into place.

“We heavily support our athletics programs,” Olian said. “We’re not making money on them, so there is a very different playing field. We’re creating huge unevenness in these divisions, Division 1A, B, and C.”

Amodio said Quinnipiac does not receive $50 million checks from the MAAC conference like top schools, creating a vast divide between Quinnipiac and Pac-12 schools like Oregon.

Sen. Murphy said universities should commit to reforming the NIL system despite the difficulties change entails.

“I just want us to commit to reform, rather than just saying ‘ehh, it’s too tough, it won’t be 100% fair, there will be winners and losers,’” Sen. Murphy said. “Well all of that is true today. The system isn’t fair, there are winners and losers today.”