Texas A&M and Miami will play for NIL bragging rights

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COLLEGE STATION, Texas — As if it wasn’t alive enough here that Texas A&M just suffered a jarring and striking home loss to an underfunded Appalachian state, they then had what you might call a bowl game of September – not a game of the week or the year, but a game of the times.

Feel free to leave your donations in that barrel over there.

When No. 13 Miami (Florida) visits No. 24 Texas A&M on Saturday night, he will pit two of NIL’s top programs against each other, the mechanism hatched in the California state legislature for college athletes to share the income they generate by capitalizing on their name, image and likeness. A suitable pattern at halftime might involve a round table on the 50-yard line with boosters playing loud poker.

Two lovable underdogs just overthrew college football royalty. What a blast.

It seems unwise to bet against John H. Ruiz.

Ruiz is Miami’s Miami lover who caused a stir when he announced details of an NIL deal on Twitter. He is in front and frank. He is going out here with 120 ticket raffle winners, 30 of which will travel by private jet. He has never been to Kyle Field, which is shaking even though it was less shaky last Saturday. “They say it’s absolutely amazing,” he said in a phone interview this week.

On the other side would be the legendary donors of Texas A&M, long considered a silent force in college athletics and recently seen as a force in college football recruiting. They’re the ones whose questionable influence on Texas A&M’s No. 1 recruiting class helped dynastic Alabama coach Nick Saban, whose words last spring angered A&M coach Jimbo Fisher, offering a nation a good entertaining fare. These donors tend to stay garbo about it, even though complete silence can be elusive when donating $25 million to one of those normal, weird American college funds that fund sports facilities. brighter. That’s what April and Jay Graham, class of 1992, sent out in mid-summer, Mr. Graham having taken his petroleum engineering degree to the top of the fuel business.

Not only does Miami vs. Texas A&M, a match held in 2016, pit a NIL weight against a NIL weight; it also opposes one NIL style to another NIL style: the direct approach versus the collective approach.

“They do it differently from us,” said Ruiz, who is both an entrepreneur and a lawyer who has pledged to spend at least $10 million on athletes to promote his businesses. “Just a different structure.” He said: “Maybe I’m not as objective as some believe, but I think we have the best NIL platform in the country. He spoke of direct business-to-player guidelines in which players learn skills such as business creation and business management: “They learn the real world of business. I think the biggest part of it is that they know they’re going to work for the money. If they are late compared to what is expected of them, we notify them immediately.

He said, “The collective – I just don’t think it’s beneficial in the long run” and “We run like a real business and have to have a return on investment or it doesn’t work for us.” He said, “I want to teach kids that they have to earn money and not just we’re going to give you money.”

How big is college football?

Whoa man, Ruiz says, basically.

“At least from our perspective, it’s the best budget we’ve ever spent on advertising,” he said. “I knew there was a strong reach, but the number of people who feel the college sports, and obviously football is key.” He noted the constant turnover of students and therefore business and said, “There is so much value in college football,” he said.

In those early days of NIL, A&M has its collective, dubbed “The Fund” in some parlance, as Andy Staples reported in The Athletic in the spring. Aggie football players have received more than $3.3 million in NIL contracts, according to information obtained by The Eagle through the Texas Open Records Act. While the free-flowing money has garnered enough national reputation to fuel good banter among top coaches, it has yet to saturate local business discussions, the chairman of the Bryan-College Chamber of Commerce said. Station, Wade Beckman. “Lots of conversations,” Beckman said, “but those conversations seem to be about the same thing that those conversations always seem to be about, and that is whether or not players should get paid.”

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Beckman, who with his wife Mary – they met as A&M students – owns three restaurants and a catering business next to Bryan, describes a bustling chamber of commerce and foresees player-business connections across the line. One factor: This 2022 team doesn’t (yet) have a dominant star like 2012 Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel.

A company representing players for deals approached the Beckmans by mail earlier this week, a first, and while it’s unsuitable at the moment, he had this thought during games when players show up on the big screen talking. “I always thought, man, that would be the coolest thing, to have a few players raving about my restaurant,” he said.

Then: “Sure, they start at $10,000.”

“I think that’s something a business owner can (weigh in) now,” he said. “Before, you couldn’t ask a player to do anything… If five players came in and I bought them all dinners as a nice gesture, it could have been a violation.”

A donor with his name (Monty) and his wife’s name (Becky) on sports facilities, Monty Davis, Class of 1977, summed up America’s crucial urge to donate in a 2019 interview with the 12th Man Foundation “I am the first in my family to graduate from college and it was by the grace of God that I ended up at Texas A&M because we had no connection or connection to the school at that time. J met my wife, Becky, here and got married shortly after graduating from A&M. Both of our daughters attended A&M, as did my brother, who married an Aggie and has two sons who went at A&M. We’re brown through and through at this point.

Their love for Aggie and everyone else’s love is pretty much unheard of in college football in the way he slides down all the rapids. Texas A&M hasn’t won a national title since 1939 and hasn’t played for a playoff or won a conference title since 1998, but the love persists, reminding fans of the English Premier League who revel in all-weather drought loyalty. -struck clubs.

That love took another test last Saturday — Appalachian State 17, Texas A&M 14 will do puffy t-shirts, but not here — and a light, palpable haze has lasted all week. Beckman spoke of disappointed post-game dinners. Football players told reporters that some players don’t necessarily buy. Fisher, the fifth-year, $95 million coach, said having young players in key positions always an American whine. A listener from The Zone 1150 messaged noon host Louie Belina on Wednesday to find out if Belina thinks the Aggies might jump ahead for a change this week. “No,” Belina answered softly, then moved on to the next topic. (LOL.)

Best college football bets: The under is the game at Texas A&M-Miami

Yet boulevards like those named for George HW Bush and Gene Stallings – one became US president, the other went higher – are bubbling with A&M love. An electronic sign discouraging texting and driving flashes the cherished mantra GIG ‘EM NOW then TEXT ‘EM LATER. Members of the famous Cadet Corps train near the stadium and its remarkable Stephen Whyte sculpture of 12 Aggie fans, and some cadets run down the sidewalks in their white t-shirts and fatigues and defy the imperious heat.

At Aggieland Outfitters, with the neon red Texas Longhorn in the window – complete with broken horns and the mantra SAW ‘EM OFF! – you can still see in the great mix of T-shirts a “Don’t Mess With Jimbo”, which remains intact. You can still see a DRY pillow with 14 school logos sewn on and cry for whoever has to sew the Longhorn logo in three years.

All around, we feel another Saturday coming, a “game of bowls” no less, a week after the pangs and a Johnathan P. Manziel tweeted: “I have 2 years of eligibility left, right?”

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