UNC Basketball: The New York Times uses Carolina to discuss NIL
Before Carolina warned against Syracuse yesterday, the New York Times ran an article talking about NIL in the NCAA. In the center of the article: the North Carolina athletics ($$$).
Complete with a photo of Armando Bacot stepping out of his Audi Q8 Carolina Blue – which appears to be a custom color as it’s the one you can’t see available for the vehicle – Bruce Schoenfel delves into the question of NIL and how his athleticism university has changed, both for the better and for the better. Rather than shopping around and attending a ton of other colleges, he spends his time focusing on UNC.
The article is a good summary of a lot of the issues in college sports right now: inequity in college sports funding both in television contracts and how sports are paid, publicity issues and the transfer of funds from university-controlled groups (The Rams Club) to NIL collectives (Heels4Life) and how this might affect other sports.
For citations, it is clear that Schoenfel had been to Chapel Hill several times. He talks about a conversation with Bubba Cunningham as they watched a basketball practice, was shown around Chapel Hill by Matson in August, hung out with Mack Brown at the height of the football season and s is interviewed with field hockey legend Karen Shelton, both before and after their national title win.
The entire article is a long read, but worth it. Some of the highlights include:
Recognition that Armando Bacot and Caleb Love earn six figures from their various NIL contracts. Matson acknowledges that while she may have been one of Carolina’s most visible Olympic sports athletes, her NIL deals are only a fraction of what football and basketball players earn. A real look at the numbers earned by both football and how much it costs to run field hockey. A discussion of the advertising conflicts that NIL can bring to an athletic department.
There is a lot more and, again, the article is definitely worth reading. It’s great that Cunningham provided The Times with so much access to where he could get candid quotes from all the players involved. Cunningham gets the chance to talk about the difficulty of pursuing all 28 college sports when the funding gap is so small, but also to make it clear that they will do whatever they can to help players get deals so that they can start, for the first time. time, enjoy the work they do at university.
No quote from Bacot, however, about where he had the Audi painted Carolina blue.
This ultimately begs the question, how are UNC and others going to try to keep getting their funding so they can compete at the level they were in sports other than basketball or soccer? Cunningham doesn’t have much of an answer at the moment, but it’s one that will need an answer for fans to continue enjoying what has been brought to them.
It also explains why schools like USC and UCLA are ready to pack their bags for a Midwestern conference when the funding is so different. Who knows where things will be in about ten years when the ESPN / ACC deal comes to an end, but it’s clear reading this that unless this funding increases significantly, UNC fans should be prepare themselves for a conference move.