See that shoe? It says Adidas

By Robert Dinwiddie


My belief is a completely unregulated free market system will lend itself to extreme abuse of nearly every entity involved, and a black market will still exist. My expectation is that organized crime would almost completely rule the outcomes of games, signings, and eligibility. Fans want to see competitive hard fought contests in which the outcome of the game gives them sincere bragging rights, not outcomes that can easily be picked apart by pointing out the integrity with which the game is played. That’s what makes the NFL so great. Granted, we all know about the wink and shrug tactics regarding recruiting and eligibility, but the actual “in-game” management and competition is rarely seriously questioned as being intentionally manipulated. Both teams in a given league typically have a comparatively level playing field and officials do their best to remain as objective as possible. Are there exceptions? Sure, but I don’t believe it is systemic. In the end, on the playing surface, it all comes down to man vs. man, coach vs. coach, and team vs. team execution. 


The collegiate/amateur approach of the old school NCAA does need serious modification, though. It would require some reimagining of the whole process, but it’s basically the NFL with less games, more sports, more divisions, academic requirements, more competition for players, buttchugging, hated rivalries, mutually beneficial regulatory requirements, co-eds, dorms, the Greek systems, and a National Championship playoff! 


Do you know why other leagues outside of MLB, NBA, NFL, and NHL fail in comparison to their mainstream counterparts? 


It’s because they start from scratch! Without fan bases, revenue backing, reserves, contracts, and perhaps most importantly, ascendant players with a voice. They have crappy coaches, no brand, reject players, non-existent fan bases, non-enforceable retainer ability, no farm leagues, and ridiculous geographical locations, for the most part.


Can you imagine a pro-league SEC spinoff affiliated with each member institution? Think about the prospects of the SEC combine or the SEC Draft. The primal rabidity of the fan bases would be epic. Beer and liquor served at college games. Co-eds with student tickets! After parties on campus with compensated players making it rain at the Pike House party, “Paid Jocks and Chicks wanting Rocks”. I could see the UTEP party now…“Gold Miners and Gold Diggers”. These leagues tend to be made up of college or club athletes anyway, why shouldn’t the PRO-NCAA hold onto them, if they can? It’s just more money in their pockets if they keep them around instead of letting them run a fade route into the sunset of their respective pro league.


All of the sudden, the Professional Establishment has to rethink their strategy and start to actually take some factors into account, specifically fan bases. 


Competition breeds strength and innovation. You think the NFL would go down without going DEFCON 5 and initiating Global-Thermo-Nuclear War? Both college leagues and pro leagues would thrive and flourish eventually due to the commitment of their backers. Does anyone think the Pro-NCAA version of the WNBA would be far superior? What about if players didn’t bolt for the NBA after one season and actually wanted to stay around to develop their abilities. How much better would the Pro-NCAA football game be if Coaches didn’t have to worry about recruiting but could focus on the in-game strategies? It’s a winning formula all the way around and guess who wins, the Players, Players' families, Fans, Boosters, Pro-NCAA, Universities, the US economy, and eventually, the NHL, MLB, NBA, and NFL.


All it takes is a small shift in mindset. We can still have institutions of higher learning. We can still have amateurism. We can still have non-revenue sports. We would just get all the benefits of professional leagues plus the almost never-ending college experience. We could live this song for a while longer. Isn’t that alone worth it? 


Written by
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.