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Nebraska football unveiled its brand-new facility to its players on Monday and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. It just goes to show that NIL isn’t the only thing that matters in the modern era of the sport.
When Name, Image and Likeness was introduced on July 1, 2021, it changed the landscape of college sports forever. Where athletes were previously paid in small amounts under the table, all of the finances are being handled above ground.
Student-athletes have long been shackled under the guise of amateurism without being able to profit from their person. NIL changes that.
It also furthered the idea that college sports, especially football, are professional. Schools with larger NIL pools are able to pay athletes more money to play for their programs.
As a result, the value of NIL often outweighs other factors when it comes to recruiting. No longer are things like facilities, coaching staffs or the right fit as important as the almighty dollar.
Auburn’s athletic director specifically moved away from facility renovations in favor of NIL donations. Maryland head football coach Mike Locksley recently said that the Terrapins’ new facility doesn’t matter on the recruiting trail.
That may be true. Arizona State head coach Kenny Dillingham estimated that NIL is 75/80% of the recruiting process.
However, that does not mean that facilities do not matter in the long term. They may have more to do with player retention than addition.
Michigan State was fired up to see their new digs earlier this summer.
The same goes for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska needed to overhaul its facility and they nailed it from top to bottom.
Not only is the locker room updated to include all of the modern amenities like nap pods, they went above and beyond with tricked out recovery pools, a sauna, high-tech showers, and a state-of-the-art equipment room. Players were pumped to check out their new home.
The pool in particular is pretty spectacular.
It is hard to imagine that Nebraska football’s new facility won’t help to get recruits committed on some level. However, even if that is not true, and it comes down only to NIL, the guys who are already on the team would have a harder time leaving for a program without the same amenities.
New facilities may not be the most important thing. But they are still important!