Notre Dame AD: ‘College Athletics Is In A Crisis’

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Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick believes college sports have reached a breaking point.

Swarbrick and Notre Dame president John Jenkins wrote a joint op-ed in The New York Times arguing that college sports has officially entered a state of crisis.

One of the main issues he sees is NIL, and he wants something done about it.

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick believes there’s a crisis in college sports. He sees NIL as an issue. (Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)

Swarbrick and Jenkins wrote the following in part:

The nation is now immersed in the thrill of the N.C.A.A. basketball tournament. (Our women’s team plays Maryland on Saturday.) But beyond the excitement, college athletics is in crisis.

It faces threats on a number of fronts: the growing patchwork of contradictory and confusing state laws regulating it, the specter of crippling lawsuits, the profusion of dubious name, image and likeness deals through which to funnel money to recruits, the misguided attempts to classify student-athletes as employees. Underlying all that is the widespread belief that college athletics is simply a lucrative business disguised as a branch of educational institutions.

Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick is drawing a line in the sand.

Swarbrick also spoke with Sports Illustrated about the issues he sees, and he only doubled down.

“If we can’t start to get ourselves to where we can make rational decisions like those and enforce them, the future will be more than one athletic association. I can tell you that,” the Notre Dame AD explained.

He further pressed college leaders to act and added, “We’ve got to get our act together as college athletics and do the things we can do. We keep sort of implying we can’t address name, image and likeness. Of course we can. We can do it in ways requiring reporting on transactions, requiring that there be transactions. We have to take that on as opposed to looking to others to fix it for us.”

Are college sports in a state of crisis? (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Is there actually a crisis?

Is Jack Swarbrick right or is he perhaps jumping the gun a little bit? It all depends on perspective. From the point of view of athletes, this is the greatest time in the history of college sports to be an athlete.

For generations, college athletes were banned from profiting. It was strictly prohibited. Some star athletes took money under the table, but doing so could result in lengthy suspensions or bans.

Will college sports survive? (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

Now, they can make as much cash as the market (cough *boosters* cough) dictate. If you’re an athlete, it’s a great time. Even someone like Olivia Dunne can cash in, despite nobody really caring about gymnastics. She has a following on social media and prints cash.

On the other hand, if you’re an administrator, coach or official, it’s hard to argue this is a great time. Players have freedom of movement, and if they can get a bag elsewhere, they might just go take it. It’s a new era. Change is never easy, and judging from Swarbrick’s comments, he’s not enjoying it.

Is NIL ruining college sports? (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

However, it’s unlikely to change. The NCAA is as weak as it’s ever been and it’s only getting weaker. The NIL era is here to stay. Could there be tweaks? Sure, but now that players have money, it will never be taken away.

Written by David Hookstead

David Hookstead is a reporter for OutKick covering a variety of topics with a focus on football and culture.

He also hosts of the podcast American Joyride that is accessible on Outkick where he interviews American heroes and outlines their unique stories. Before joining OutKick, Hookstead worked for the Daily Caller for seven years covering similar topics.

Hookstead is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin.


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  1. As usual, I disagree with David The FanBoy … no surprise. IF “student-athletes”(?) in FB and MBB had been actually bartering their athletic skills in exchange for A Marketable College Education there was a fair exchange. Alas, that concept was eroded over time into “underwater basketweaving” eligibility majors and “fake classes”. Who’s to blame ??? NIL / Portal fills that void.

    Replacing Mark “The Eunch” Emmert as NCAA Czar is a band-aid move but something. College Presidents – ADs – Big $$$ Coaches – semi-literate 5-star egos – Fat Cat Boosters demanding Bragging Rights at their Country Clubs – Foam-fingered goobers yelling at clouds … where to start to find ANY common sense among that pile of nonsense ???? ……… sigh.

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