Oklahoma state legislature prioritized overturning an NIL bill previously vetoed by its governor.
While Oklahoma governor Kevin Stitt wants to get teachers raises more than anything in the world, the state legislature wants to make sure its college programs don’t get lapped when it comes to NIL.
Shortly before adjourning, the state legislature overruled a bill having to do with NIL that Stitt essentially spite vetoed because he only cares about raising teachers’ salaries. That is a noble gesture, but you can’t veto 23 bills in two days just because you want to stick it to your state’s congress… Anyway, this bill was overturned by the house and senate, and has thus been enacted.
This recently ratified law protects Oklahoman institutions from the NCAA getting into its business when it comes to compensating student-athletes for their names, images, likenesses and whatnot.
Let’s discuss why this is so massive for the Oklahoma Sooners, and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Why a new NIL law gives Oklahoma and Oklahoma State huge recruiting boost
Other states have enacted laws like this one, such as Arkansas, Missouri and Texas. Those three states all have member institutions in the SEC where the Sooners will play or in the Big 12 where the Cowboys will remain. Given that Oklahoma does not have the amount of high-end high school prospects as other football-crazed states, NIL is a way to give both Power Five programs a boost.
This is a little complicated, so hear me out… By leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, OU is essentially giving up being a top-three program all-time in favor of being somewhere around Auburn or Florida in its new league. You can still contend for and win championships at both places, but Alabama and Georgia, among others, will have deeper resources to use to field superior teams.
Had OU joined the SEC without as progressive of an NIL stance as possible, the Sooners could pull back, especially if Brent Venables isn’t the answer long-term at head coach. Surely, an SEC job at a place like Oklahoma would be incredibly attractive for another potential head-coaching candidate on the market, but OU needs to be forward-thinking and progressive when joining its new league.
As for the Pokes, they are in a very interesting spot. There is a power vacuum up for grabs with OU and Texas leaving for the SEC. This means someone gets to be the big, bad bully once the Longhorns and Sooners leave the Big 12. Oklahoma State has a rich football tradition, a proven head coach and plenty of boosters. It could be an arms race between them, and say, a Houston…
Should the Big 12 expand beyond 12 teams once OU and Texas leave, they could, in theory, absorb the Pac-12’s Four Corner universities (Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Utah). Who knows how NIL lenient those states will be? But again, their theoretical entry into the Big 12 does take up market share for what programs like OKST could garner in the wake of the OU and Texas exodus.
Ultimately, anything that helps improve NIL is a good thing for the Sooners and Cowboys, mostly because they care deeply about college athletics. No matter where you lean on the issue, wouldn’t you want to see people succeed in something they care so deeply about? We are still so new to this NIL phenomenon, so expect for future iterations of it to unfold, but it is a huge start for them.
NIL gives OU a chance at early success in the SEC, as well as gives OKST a shot at being a power.