Alabama’s Greg Byrne pleased with Tide’s approach to NIL
The first year of Name, Image and Likeness brought numerous changes to the NCAA landscape.
College athletes were first given the opportunity to benefit from NIL on June 30, 2021. Since that time, schools have started creating NIL collectives and other financial pools to help create opportunities for athletes in the program.
The University of Alabama is being active on that front, but Crimson Tide Director of Athletics Greg Byrne describes the approach as more substance than style.
“You haven’t seen a lot of crazy stories out there about Alabama,” Byrne said. “The NCAA has made it clear that it is illegal to use it as a recruiting inducement. So basically, on the front end, it’s a promise. So we have shown our recruits what opportunities have presented themselves throughout our sports.”
It can be argued that other college athletic programs have taken a more showy approach to NIL, looking to grab attention and headlines. Some programs have also not hidden the fact that are using NIL as a recruiting tool. Byrne says the NCAA does not have the standing to effectively police the way schools use Name, Image, and Likeness. But he believes there are other bodies – both within college athletics and outside of it – that may be able to use their influence to help ensure that NIL is used in the manner that it was intended.
“I think there’s opportunities at the Federal level. I think there’s opportunities maybe within the conferences,” Byrne said. “I’ve said this somewhat nationally – I’m really concerned about the model to make sure that we continue that broad-based programming and have 21 sports. The reality is we have one sport that makes a healthy profit. We have one sport that barely makes a profit, men’s basketball. And we have 19 other sports that lost a lot of money. That money has to come from somewhere and as much as people think there’s an unlimited supply of money, as the Athletic Director here at Alabama….the unlimited supply is not there.”
Byrne also says the costs of running a college athletic program have gone up dramatically in the past year. He says travel costs have risen 20 to 25 percent from where they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.