All That and a Bag of Mail

Videos by OutKick

It’s Friday and as soon as the radio show ends today, I’m heading down to Atlanta with my family to watch Marlins-Braves over July 4th weekend. I hope you guys also have great weekends planned as well.

We’re about to finish Week Two of the Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, and right now we are the fourth biggest news podcast in the country and one of the twenty highest rated podcasts in the country. So if you haven’t already subscribed and given us a five star rating, I’d appreciate you taking the time to do so. Primarily because I’d like to catch the commies at NPR and the New York Times.

Okay, here we go with your questions:

Michael writes:

“Will male or female athletes end up making more money from NIL?”

Men will make more money in totality, I think, but many individual women will make an absolute ton of money off their social media profiles too.

But the reasons people will be paying will differ.

I think men’s basketball and football players will make money based on the interest level in their sports, which are far higher than any other sports, but I think the women who cash in will do so based less on their athletic achievements and more on their looks, humor, and personality. That is, the Instagram influencer market is essentially run by women and almost all of the women making good money there are really good looking. I suspect that overarching model will govern here too.

I’m curious how long it will take for the criticism to be levied that men’s name, image, and likeness dollars tend to be tethered to athletic ability, while women’s name, image, and likeness money tend to be linked to looks. This isn’t necessarily anything new, remember Anna Kournikova made tens of millions of dollars without ever being one of the top ten tennis players in the world, while way more accomplished women’s tennis players made much less. Now Kournikova came along before social media existed, but there’s no telling what she would make in the modern era. Probably way more.

One thing to keep an eye on if the money becomes substantially pronounced in favor of male athletes: will there be lawsuits based on Title IX? In other words, will some female athletes file lawsuits saying that men being paid massive amounts of money outside the scholarship world violates Title IX, which requires colleges to treat all athletes equally? We don’t really know the answer to a lawsuit like this — and I suspect it would take many years to resolve — but interestingly, the more active schools are in monitoring and policing name, image and likeness money, the more of an argument women would have that these payments should be included as part of Title IX.

If Title IX lawsuits like these happen, and courts find they have merit, then I think what you’ll end up with is a large cash pool for all athlete endorsement money that gets redistributed evenly to all scholarship athletes.

A couple of other NIL issues that I find really interesting: what will internal locker room dynamics be like when the quarterback is making over a million dollars a year, but other players are making a tiny fraction of that? Remember, there will be a clear superstar effect at play here. Most football and men’s basketball players, even on good teams, are relatively anonymous. So how will this work when some players become rich and most players remain poor?

Furthermore, can you imagine some of the wild trouble million dollar college athletes are going to find themselves in? Think about when you were in college. How often did parties get out of control, even if you guys had no money to spend? Can you imagine the parties that would surround a 19-year-old multi-million dollar college athlete? Can you imagine the strippers and hookers who might make their way to campus to cash in too? How many Don Kings are there going to be, signing young athletes out there to crazy deals that advantage the marketing agent more than the player? This is going to be the absolute wild west.

And there’s no way, by the way, this isn’t going to flood into recruiting. I know, I know, the schools themselves aren’t going to be paying, but wealthy fans are going to be signing up top recruits and directing them to their favored programs. I don’t know how this will be policed. You can make a handshake deal that as soon as a scholarship is signed or a player arrives on campus, he gets a ton of cash to endorse your product.

Every top school is going to have twenty Buddy Garritys out there gladhandling for top recruits.

Which is why I actually think NIL might lead top players to go to different schools. Would you rather be, for instance, Alabama’s tenth five star or would you rather be Mississippi State’s only five star? Which would potentially pay better, being the best player on a smaller school or one of a dozen top players? I think it’s the former.

And it could impact the non-Power Five too. Would you rather be the top player in Southern Miss’s class if you’re from Hattiesburg, for instance, or would you rather be Ole Miss’s 20th best recruit? I think this will be fascinating to watch.

A few other questions: how will NIL impact existing sponsorship dollars for schools? Let’s say there’s an official pizza or soda of an athletic department. If I’m one of the rival brands, why wouldn’t I sign the top players and put them in conflict with the university brand deal? How much policing of this will schools be allowed to do without creating anti-trust issues for themselves?

Speaking of policing, why does the NCAA need to exist now? For generations, the NCAA has policed “improper benefits” for athletes based on the amateurism standard of college athletics. Now that athletes can all get paid and transfer pretty much without any prohibitions, what’s the NCAA’s role now? Sure, they put on championships and set basic rules, but is that really worth billions of dollars? Why does this vast bureaucracy need to exist at all? And how, by the way, is the NCAA going to punish schools with boosters accused of paying players now that boosters can effectively pay players? These are all major questions to resolve.

Finally, if your “job” is effectively moving from playing a sport to promoting yourself and your own personal brand, how does that interact with team success? Lots of college coaches have been able to manage their teams by telling players if they listen to them, they’ll be millionaires in pro sports. But what if some players can become millionaires just by listening to their social followings?

It’s a brave new world. Buckle up.

Duke writes:

“Will OutKick be sponsoring any college athletes?”

Yes, I’ll be working on that over the weekend. We had hundreds of college athletes reach out to us after I tweeted yesterday morning that we wanted to have some college athletes working with us at OutKick.

I want to make sure we have a good mix of sports and guys and girls. So we’ll be working on that in the days ahead.

Bourbon writes:

“Will the NCAA use the Delta variant fear porn to screw up this year’s college football season too?”

I don’t know that it will be so much the NCAA as it will be the coronabros still trying to terrify everyone out there. Many people simply can’t let go of COVID fear porn because the idea that they are virtuous by wearing a mask is how they define themselves.

The mask is their virtue signal for all to see. Even if, you know, the data reflects that places that masked aggressively and places that didn’t mask aggressively ended up with pretty much the same results. Just like places that locked down aggressively ended up with pretty much the same results as places that didn’t lock down aggressively.

Look, if you’re terrified of COVID, go get the vaccine.


If you’re vaccinated, I don’t see why you should care about what others decide to do. You’ve taken care of yourself. Let others make the choices to do what’s best for themselves and their families. As it is, your fears have restricted my freedoms for over a year now.

All of this COVID fear porn needs to end.

And there’s no legitimate basis whatsoever for any sports league to have any restrictive COVID policy at all.

What happened to NC State in the College World Series was an outrage. There is no way to justify allowing 24,000 fans to attend a game with zero testing at all while not letting young, healthy athletes play a game.

The NC State players could have bought tickets and sat in the stands to watch the games. The fact that they weren’t able to play a socially-distanced game on the field is pure nonsense.

Austin writes:

“Should an Olympian be banned for testing positive for cannibis?”

No, I’ve argued for years that I don’t think any athletes should be banned for using drugs that aren’t performance enhancing. That means if you use steroids or any other type of performance enhancing drug, then I believe sports suspensions are appropriate because they can directly impact the results on the field.

But if you smoke pot, snort cocaine, or use any other non-performance enhancing drugs that are presently banned by leagues, I think that’s on you. I believe in personal responsibility, not the nanny employment state. The truth of the matter is this: if you regularly use drugs, your sports performance will likely decline over time and you’ll be out of the league sooner than you otherwise would have been if you’d abstained from using drugs.

But I don’t think it should be the job of sports leagues — or any other employer, for that matter — to be testing employees for illegal drug use off the job. Off the job, by the way, is important here. If you’re using drugs at work, you should be fired.

Having said all of this, there are clear exceptions where testing is necessary. For instance, I don’t want my pilot on drugs or alcohol when he or she is flying the plane. But I think jobs like these are relatively rare. And I don’t think playing a sport is the equivalent of flying a plane.

The less significant the drug’s use is  — pot, for instance — the less I believe in athlete suspensions for using it.

Like I said, I’ve been arguing this for years.

But some coaches and executives disagree with me and think drug testing athletes is important. These team officials always say these prohibitions are essentially addiction and IQ tests. In that, they say athletes know when they are going to be tested — usually at the beginning of training camp in the NFL, for instance — and should know when they need to stop using the drugs to avoid a positive test. If you can’t manage that, they argue, either you’re addicted to the drug or you’re too dumb to know what you need to do to pass the test. Either, they tell me, is a bad sign for your long range employment as an athlete.

Scott writes:

“What do you think of the case against Trump’s company?”

It’s an embarrassing end for the prosecutors to a politically-driven investigation.

You spend three years investigating a massive company and the only thing you can find that’s improper is $1.7 million in income that should have been attributed to an individual over the past 15 years as opposed to expensed by the company? And that improper attribution is related mostly to use of a leased car and an apartment?

Look, I’m not an expert on the tax code, but I know paying taxes is an art, not a science. If you gave ten different accountants the exact same books, they’d come up with ten different amounts of taxes owed.

My taxes are a fraction as complicated as the Trump organization’s, and I have no idea how to do them myself. My accountant just tells me what check to make out to the IRS every year, and I do it. Most high earning people do the same.

I know these prosecutors spent way more than $1.7 million on this investigation, and this is all they’ve uncovered?

Let’s presume these prosecutors are 100% right about the $1.7 million in additional income that was reported improperly. Okay, that’s around $700k in additional taxes owed by Trump’s CEO. Maybe with penalties, he’d owe over a million dollars in back taxes.

And you’re going to turn that into 15 different felonies?

I think politically-motivated prosecutors like these, to be honest, are like NCAA investigators before NIL became legal. If the NCAA spends years investigating your favorite athletic program, they are going to find NCAA violations. And if prosecutors spend three years investigating your company, they are going to find something to charge you with too. Otherwise, they’ve wasted all this time for no benefit

The fact that all they could find is $1.7 million in misattributed income — which is denied by the CFO — is Russia collusion all over again. The left wing media built up this massive idea in far left wing deranged Twitter that Trump was going to jail based on all these investigations, and then when the results actually come out, they’re nothing.

It’s embarrassing.

Sam writes:

“How much do you like doing the new show compared to doing Outkick?”

We’re only two weeks in, so it’s still early, but I’m loving it so far.

I mean, when you’re a radio guy, how could you not love doing the biggest radio show in the country? Buck is really smart, and I think as we continue to get more used to doing a show together, our interaction is going to get better and better.

Plus, I still have the same ability to weigh in on sports as I had before with OutKick. But now I get the opportunity to talk about everything else in detail, whatever stories are on the front page of the newspapers on a daily basis. I’ve probably spent way more time reading about politics, current affairs and legal issues over my life than I have sports. So I’m at least as well versed in politics, legal issues and current affairs as I am in sports, maybe even more well versed in these topics, honestly.

So if you trusted my opinions on sports, you should trust my opinions on these other subjects even more.

In terms of my lifestyle, the best thing by far is not having to be up at four AM every morning. For six years, I got up before dawn and was live on the air by five in the morning my time. Unless you also get up that early, I can’t tell you how draining that is. Especially when you’re often required to react to late night sports, meaning you really don’t ever get a full night’s sleep during the week.

Every person who has an early morning job knows the feeling in the evening when you start to dread your sleep schedule. You’re constantly doing math in your head about how much sleep you are going to be able to get on any given night. And then if you can’t fall asleep at night because a game went into overtime, you know you’re really screwed.

We did a ton of shows over the years, honestly, where we literally didn’t sleep. When we were on the road for the college national championship, for instance, we’d go straight from the bus bringing us back to the hotel to the show sometimes.

And during the Super Bowl?

Man, that was also really brutal. Because there are Super Bowl events late at night and then you’re back doing live radio. There were lots of times where I looked around radio row, and we were almost the only guys doing radio in the entire country. The place was almost completely empty.

So I put in my time there. Time that, frankly, a lot of people in my industry wouldn’t have been willing to do.

Combine those early hours of radio with three years of late afternoon daily TV and there’s almost no one out there who does that in sports. It’s challenging because you have to have tremendous energy early in the morning, and then you also have to have great energy later in the afternoon for both live TV and the social media show I do at 4 pm eastern every day.

And that doesn’t even include the writing and managing I do at OutKick or my job as a dad of three young boys.

So it’s been an absolute ton of work over the past several years. I love the work and I’m proud of the work we did, but it was really draining.

Now my schedule is much more compressed into a normal day. I wake up, do radio prep, write and manage OutKick, get ready for the live show from 11 am – 2 pm central time, knock out the show, then hit my TV and digital shows in the afternoon and I still feel great in the evenings.

The result?

I love what I do now even more than I loved what I did last year.

And now I’m off to the studio.

Hope you guys tune in.

And, as always, thanks for your support of OutKick.

Let’s go Braves!

Written by Clay Travis

Clay Travis is the founder of the fastest growing national multimedia platform, OutKick, that produces and distributes engaging content across sports and pop culture to millions of fans across the country. OutKick was created by Travis in 2011 and sold to the Fox Corporation in 2021.

One of the most electrifying and outspoken personalities in the industry, Travis hosts OutKick The Show where he provides his unfiltered opinion on the most compelling headlines throughout sports, culture, and politics. He also makes regular appearances on FOX News Media as a contributor providing analysis on a variety of subjects ranging from sports news to the cultural landscape. Throughout the college football season, Travis is on Big Noon Kickoff for Fox Sports breaking down the game and the latest storylines.

Additionally, Travis serves as a co-host of The Clay Travis and Buck Sexton Show, a three-hour conservative radio talk program syndicated across Premiere Networks radio stations nationwide.

Previously, he launched OutKick The Coverage on Fox Sports Radio that included interviews and listener interactions and was on Fox Sports Bet for four years. Additionally, Travis started an iHeartRadio Original Podcast called Wins & Losses that featured in-depth conversations with the biggest names in sports.

Travis is a graduate of George Washington University as well as Vanderbilt Law School. Based in Nashville, he is the author of Dixieland Delight, On Rocky Top, and Republicans Buy Sneakers Too.


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  1. My question is referenced to the sponsorship of a college athlete.
    Will any OutKick sponsorship be only to athletes in the SEC or more specifically, Vanderbilt and/or Tennessee?
    OutKick subscribers come from all over the USA.

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