Sen. Rand Paul Makes Awkward, But Not Entirely Inaccurate Comments About NIL Ruining College Sports During PGA Tour-LIV Hearing

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The U.S. Senate Subcommittee held a hearing about the proposed merger between the PGA Tour, DP World Tour, and the Saudi Arabia Public Investment Fund (PIF) on Tuesday. As expected, the hearing was mostly filled with political fluff and members of both parties drawing contradicting lines in the sand on the topic at hand. Sen. Rand Paul took time to go completely off-topic and bring NIL and college athletics into the conversation.

The Republican Senator out of Kentucky did comment on the negotiations between the PGA Tour and Saudi Arabia stating that Congress had “no business” in questioning the doings between the two sides explaining that it’s “not the business of government.”

Sen. Paul made it clear that he is of the opinion that the U.S. government has much larger issues to worry about than getting in between a potential business deal in professional golf. Many, if not the majority of Americans, will agree with Paul on that front.

Unfortunately for Paul, he did not keep his focus on Congress needing to fry bigger fish. He brought up college athletics and awkwardly discussed how NIL has ruined them.

Paul certainly knows plenty about college basketball and its culture as a man from Kentucky. He specifically mentioned college hoops players being paid and being seen as “rap stars instead of basketball stars.”

“Many of us loved watching amateur athletes that weren’t paid. Now everybody that plays basketball in college is gonna be driving a Bentley or a Rolls Royce,” Paul said. “I mean, we’re gonna be seeing rap stars instead of basketball stars. This is crazy.” 

Paul is predictably being called a racist by the easily offended, virtue-signaling crowd on social media because he mentioned basketball players and rap stars in the same sentence.

Rand Paul’s Comments About College Athletics Were ill-Timed, But Not Completely Wrong

At the end of the day, his comments about college athletics being ruined were both ill-timed and a bad choice of words.

Venting about NIL at a subcommittee hearing about the re-shaping of professional golf as we know it isn’t the time or place. Also, we’re already so deep into the incredibly sketchy hole that is the NIL-era of college athletics, speaking about it at all at this point in time is nothing but a waste of time.

While Paul’s message about college athletics was very poorly worded, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold at least a bit of truth.

I’m of the opinion that college athletes being paid on their name, image, and likeness is a good thing. I also believe that it’s the wild, wild west in college football and basketball. There needs to be some regulations put in place and regulations that schools actually abide by.

Paul’s sentiment that college sports have lost some of their magic is completely accurate.

Lifelong college football fans from the South, like myself for example, have undoubtedly lost a bit of that connection to their favorite team thanks to NIL and transfer portal rules allowing dozens of players to be shipped in and out of programs.

Yes, the older we all get we’re always going to lose passion for 18-22-year-old kids playing a sport. The NIL era has sped up that process even more.

Follow Mark Harris on Twitter @ItIsMarkHarris

Written by Mark Harris

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