Debates surrounding athletes securing name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals have been circulating since the guidelines were updated. Now, former NFL player Ricky Williams has put in his own two cents.


Ricky Williams' Hot Take On NIL Deals

For Front Office Sports’ My Other Passion, the Heisman-winning running back spoke about the shift in the business of “the biggest taboo” in college sports turning into the norm.

“It seems somewhat unregulated,” Willams told host Ernest Baker. “It’s amazing to me and it’s wild to think. I’m curious about the long-term effects of this to amateur sports. I’m a traditionalist in the sense of I believe college sports should be amateur…Meaning playing for the love of the game.”

He continued: “Not that money always taints the love of the game but it can make it complicated especially when you’re young. I’m just afraid that with the transfer portal and NIL deals that college sports pretty much already have become professional sports. And I think you’re going to lose the love of the game and the appreciation of a college education.”

A Possible Alternative For College Athletes

Instead of the current protocol, Williams gave insight into a theory he thinks can be beneficial for young athletes.

“I’m not bitter. I would say if I did it I think the money should go in a trust that comes to the player once they graduate. I don’t think the players should be exploited, but I also don’t think an opportunity to get a college education should be taken advantage of or exploited.”

Taking into account his own past when it came to seeing an influx of money at a young age, Williams’ focus is for the student-athletes to have a grasp of financial literacy.

“I think it’s great that they’re able to make money. I hope that they’re being educated. I wish I would’ve had this opportunity because when I did get to the NFL and big money started coming, I would’ve had a little bit of practice.”