the BigAmateurism monologues

A series of events over the last 18 months—some unforeseeable—have created a perfect storm that will change college sports forever. The NCAA's bait an…
Apr 15th, 2022 | 1:13:04

Tom McMillan Channels Chicken Little for University Trustees

On April 12th, Tom McMillan appeared in a forum for university trustees titled “Name, Image, and Likeness(“NIL”): What it Means for College Governing Boards. The American Council of Trustees and Alumni hosted the forum. McMillan was a former member of the University of Maryland Board of Trustees. Since 2015, McMillan has been CEO of Lead1, a trade association for 131 FBS athletics directors, including the 65 Power 5 schools. Lead1 has taken policy positions on various issues including NIL, athletes as employees, infractions, diversity/inclusion/equity, transfer rules, NCAA governance, and importantly, sports betting. Joining McMillan were Michael Hsu, an athletes’ rights advocate and former member of the Minnesota Board of Regents, and Lyle Adams, the owner of Spry, a NIL company. McMillan’s message for university trustees was simple: the sky is falling in an unregulated and out of control NIL market and only Congress can save college sports from imminent collapse. McMillan recycled worn-out status quo talking points from the very beginning of the NIL debate in 2019. He also added a few new ones, including that unregulated NIL deals might increase susceptibility (primarily for star athletes) to sports betting corruption. The message from McMillan was clear: sports betting is bad news and posed a new and alarming threat to the integrity of college sports. This episode examines McMillan’s arguments for Congressional intervention and his role as a paid advocate for FBS athletics directors’ interests.