Crazy, But True: We Can Be a Perennial Top-10 Program Because of Academics (NIL) | Syracusefan.com

Crazy, But True: We Can Be a Perennial Top-10 Program Because of Academics (NIL)

pokercuse08

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I was out for my morning walk today reflecting on the loss yesterday and bemoaning being stuck just on the wrong side of that hump. I was racking my brain for ways to get to that next level, the one Clemson is at now. In some senses, like recruiting, we're not even close. In another sense, one might ask, "Why not us?"

Since 2018 and using current 2022 rankings as if they were the end of the year, only five ACC schools have finished a season ranked in the top-25 more than once:

Clemson 5
Syracuse 2
Wake Forest 2
NC State 2
North Carolina 2

But that next step is so hard, and what we're currently trying to do is to do it the normal way. By building a program the normal way and winning the normal way. But it's like that scene in Moneyball. We're kind of like the A's, and they're like the Yankees or Red Sox. We're never going to out recruit good Southern schools in football by doing it the same way they are. We're never going to be able to build a program that can perennially play on the level of an Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Georgia, Clemson, etc, in terms of money spent on facilities and stadiums and all that if we're trying to just beat them on the field and sneak into a big boy conference and then win playing the same game.

Then it hit me. We are in a moment of incredible opportunity in the college sports landscape. NIL is like the wild west. Everyone is figuring it out as they go. The average value of deals is super low. Only a handful of star players are making big bucks. There will inevitably be a handful of schools that win at it and set themselves up for tons of success in the next decade. But the ones most likely to do so have way more money around their program than we do, and a willingness to break rules and cut corners. So we need to figure out a way to play to our strengths and beat them, preferably cleanly. We can do that. We need to go all-in on NIL academically.

Part of the reason we still have a top-25 brand in college sports is our sports broadcasting factory and the influence that we have as a result. That type of thing probably helped us recruit in both sports over the years. But now it's all about the money, or it will be soon if it isn't already. But why not us? Why can't we become the NIL factory? We have the #1 sports broadcasting school in the country, arguably the best overall communications school, a top-25 sports management program, a top-50ish business school and a top-100ish law school.

Syracuse should start an undergraduate major in NIL, drawing on our academic success in all of the areas that overlap with NIL opportunities. We should also create a specialty in our law school for NIL. I want to be clear, these are LEGIT majors and LEGIT fields to get into. There will be tons of business opportunity and money in the NIL space going forward, so why not offer students the chance to study and learn and prepare themselves for that, just like we do for sports analytics and sports management?

Want to be an agent specializing in NIL? Come get a law degree at Syracuse, with a specialization in NIL law. Want to build a business in NIL? Come major in it. Pair up broadcasting majors from WAER/Z89 with student-athletes to create podcasts. Pair up business majors with student-athletes to create merchandise to sell online. Pair up students studying social media marketing with student-athletes to monetize TikTok accounts. Pair up recently graduated lawyers as agents to rep student-athletes and get them NIL deals around town. Do so through legitimate academic classes and extra curricular groups! The Athletics Department doesn't even have to be involved!

Make sure in every broadcast, they're mentioning that we're the only/first school in the country to offer a MAJOR in NIL. We're at the forefront of NIL. We're the school developing experts in NIL. Make sure they're doing a segment on Gameday about it, make sure it's in national papers. The school should bring in famous alums to get involved, give interviews, etc. Bring in ex-players who are in tv/radio and broadcasting alums to teach the podcasting side as adjunct professors.

It also lets you recruit based on NIL, and within bounds. You're not offering bags of money, you're not telling them there's going to be a no-show NIL deal for $100K. You're telling them that if they come to Syracuse they're going to play football/basketball and study how to make money off their NIL, and that Syracuse University has the best network for them to learn that business and succeed in that business. It's legal to recruit kids based on academic programs, so create an academic program in NIL!

We're already the first school to offer a class in NIL, and we already have student-athletes having success doing so.

That is how we start getting 4-star and 5-star recruits on the regular, and THAT is how we get to the next level. This also applies to basketball, of course... We can be a perennial power in both sports going forward.
 

WestFairO

Walk On
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Excellent idea and write-up. Years ago people would have thought that a sports management or sports analytics major was crazy. This is a legitimate business line, and a career that can be studied and specialized in! Our alumni (broadcasting, athletes, business leaders) can help us create a competitive advantage. I will be with SU muckety-mucks for the ND game and will see if anyone takes an interest
 

pokercuse08

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Excellent idea and write-up. Years ago people would have thought that a sports management or sports analytics major was crazy. This is a legitimate business line, and a career that can be studied and specialized in! Our alumni (broadcasting, athletes, business leaders) can help us create a competitive advantage. I will be with SU muckety-mucks for the ND game and will see if anyone takes an interest
Thanks, that's great to hear - I was hoping if the right people saw it here, it might have a chance to be passed along and perhaps become reality!
 

pokercuse08

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Send an email to JW
1. Is his e-mail publicly listed?

2. I'm not sure this can run through the athletics department, that might complicate matters in terms of compliance. Anyone know?
 

MSOrange

2020 Cali Award Winner, Regular Season Record
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1. Is his e-mail publicly listed?

2. I'm not sure this can run through the athletics department, that might complicate matters in terms of compliance. Anyone know?
He does read emails and either responds himself or gets the appropriate person involved who can help.

 

OrlandoCuse

Hall of Fame
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I was out for my morning walk today reflecting on the loss yesterday and bemoaning being stuck just on the wrong side of that hump. I was racking my brain for ways to get to that next level, the one Clemson is at now. In some senses, like recruiting, we're not even close. In another sense, one might ask, "Why not us?"

Since 2018 and using current 2022 rankings as if they were the end of the year, only five ACC schools have finished a season ranked in the top-25 more than once:

Clemson 5
Syracuse 2
Wake Forest 2
NC State 2
North Carolina 2

But that next step is so hard, and what we're currently trying to do is to do it the normal way. By building a program the normal way and winning the normal way. But it's like that scene in Moneyball. We're kind of like the A's, and they're like the Yankees or Red Sox. We're never going to out recruit good Southern schools in football by doing it the same way they are. We're never going to be able to build a program that can perennially play on the level of an Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan, Georgia, Clemson, etc, in terms of money spent on facilities and stadiums and all that if we're trying to just beat them on the field and sneak into a big boy conference and then win playing the same game.

Then it hit me. We are in a moment of incredible opportunity in the college sports landscape. NIL is like the wild west. Everyone is figuring it out as they go. The average value of deals is super low. Only a handful of star players are making big bucks. There will inevitably be a handful of schools that win at it and set themselves up for tons of success in the next decade. But the ones most likely to do so have way more money around their program than we do, and a willingness to break rules and cut corners. So we need to figure out a way to play to our strengths and beat them, preferably cleanly. We can do that. We need to go all-in on NIL academically.

Part of the reason we still have a top-25 brand in college sports is our sports broadcasting factory and the influence that we have as a result. That type of thing probably helped us recruit in both sports over the years. But now it's all about the money, or it will be soon if it isn't already. But why not us? Why can't we become the NIL factory? We have the #1 sports broadcasting school in the country, arguably the best overall communications school, a top-25 sports management program, a top-50ish business school and a top-100ish law school.

Syracuse should start an undergraduate major in NIL, drawing on our academic success in all of the areas that overlap with NIL opportunities. We should also create a specialty in our law school for NIL. I want to be clear, these are LEGIT majors and LEGIT fields to get into. There will be tons of business opportunity and money in the NIL space going forward, so why not offer students the chance to study and learn and prepare themselves for that, just like we do for sports analytics and sports management?

Want to be an agent specializing in NIL? Come get a law degree at Syracuse, with a specialization in NIL law. Want to build a business in NIL? Come major in it. Pair up broadcasting majors from WAER/Z89 with student-athletes to create podcasts. Pair up business majors with student-athletes to create merchandise to sell online. Pair up students studying social media marketing with student-athletes to monetize TikTok accounts. Pair up recently graduated lawyers as agents to rep student-athletes and get them NIL deals around town. Do so through legitimate academic classes and extra curricular groups! The Athletics Department doesn't even have to be involved!

Make sure in every broadcast, they're mentioning that we're the only/first school in the country to offer a MAJOR in NIL. We're at the forefront of NIL. We're the school developing experts in NIL. Make sure they're doing a segment on Gameday about it, make sure it's in national papers. The school should bring in famous alums to get involved, give interviews, etc. Bring in ex-players who are in tv/radio and broadcasting alums to teach the podcasting side as adjunct professors.

It also lets you recruit based on NIL, and within bounds. You're not offering bags of money, you're not telling them there's going to be a no-show NIL deal for $100K. You're telling them that if they come to Syracuse they're going to play football/basketball and study how to make money off their NIL, and that Syracuse University has the best network for them to learn that business and succeed in that business. It's legal to recruit kids based on academic programs, so create an academic program in NIL!

We're already the first school to offer a class in NIL, and we already have student-athletes having success doing so.

That is how we start getting 4-star and 5-star recruits on the regular, and THAT is how we get to the next level. This also applies to basketball, of course... We can be a perennial power in both sports going forward.
I could see a track, specialization or certificate in NIL across different majors, but it seems a bit narrow to be its own major. I think at most it’s 2 or 3 classes.
 

All4SU

Still Living Legend
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The future is Gaming. Just a matter of time before SU adds a Gaming team or teams. Then we will all post online about how we rock at playing electronic games. Big Orange Thumbs will be seen everywhere. We will have degrees in electronic gaming. Get onboard.
 

pokercuse08

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I could see a track, specialization or certificate in NIL across different majors, but it seems a bit narrow to be its own major. I think at most it’s 2 or 3 classes.
You could make it all encompassing, and a lot of this would overlap with other ways for athletes to make money after their playing days are done - whenever that day comes. Off the top of my head:

NIL Landscape (9 credits)
1. Legal foundation, NCAA regulations - How to do this cleanly, includes some history
2. Current/future state of affairs - examples/stats on latest deals nationwide, types of businesses that fit best to work with, the entrepreneurial model vs. signing w/ an agent, where it's headed in the future (guest lectures maybe)
3. NIL case studies - Have junior/senior student athletes come in and share what they did and break it down, do the same with alums, and do the same w/ those on the NIL business side who have partnered up. Break one down each week, do a handful over the semester.

Basic Communications (9 credits)
1. Intro level writing course
2. Intro level speaking course
3. Intro to digital communications

Podcasting/Broadcasting (9 credits)
1. Intro to Podcasting/Broadcasting (equipment, platforms, basics, etc)
2. Broadcasting/Podcasting Practicum (record content in teams, listen back as a class, alums review it)
3. Ad sales in Podcasting/Broadcasting

Social Media (6 credits)
1. Intro - platforms and content guidelines, how algorithms work
2. Monetization - how it works, how to make their content easy to monetize, how to get deals, how to get an agent for it

Merchandising (6 credits)
1. Design/Sourcing/Branding
2. Sales - building a website, using an ecommerce platform, etc

Marketing (6 credits)
1. How to get eyeballs on your podcast, merch site, etc
2. How to market your own name/image/likeness to increase the value

Business (9 - 18 credits)
6 classes in business school to basically pick up a business minor, a few can be required and a few elective

That's 60+ credits right there, although some might count more as pre-reqs... But you could also add elective specialization in some of those categories, and you could also have an "internship" or practicum course that is literally like a portal to partner up student athletes with each other, with NIL experts, businesses, etc to get started and have a professor oversee it and provide advice/education.

A major is around 40 credits, right? Seems like this should be pretty easy to bundle together into one.
 

rrlbees

2017 ESPN Tourney Challenge Winner
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Interesting idea but a couple questions.

SU has a class, does seminars, has advisors and has brought in company’s for players to work with on their marketing and brand. First, is there enough “NIL” meat to have a major? Maybe a minor wrapped in with a marketing or similar major?

Second, IMO, this doesn’t bring in the 5 stars. What this would do is help those student athletes who are looking to make NIL money who would be doing the typical NIL activities such as charities, autograph sessions, camps, appearances, clothing sales, etc. Having an NIL major or minor or just classes I don’t think is going to attract the 5 star. They are looking for much bigger money and those who are willing to pay that kind of money seek out the 5 stars not the other way around.

I know you’re just spitballing and it’s a great discussion.
 

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