Detroit Regional Chamber > Education & Talent > Navigating the New Reality of Collegiate Athletics

Navigating the New Reality of Collegiate Athletics

May 28, 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Michigan State University proves that embracing the changes to collegiate sports is mutually beneficial.
  • The transfer portal makes the selection of college athletes more equitable.
  • Students have more autonomy in their college and post-college careers.


Navigating the New Reality of Collegiate Athletics

In 2023, Michigan began allowing collegiate athletes the right to profit from the use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL). This decision also included changes to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)’s Transfer Portal, affecting the athletic pipeline from recruitment to retention for universities.

Coaches can select transfer candidates from the Transfer Portal to fill gaps in their roster as they build up their teams, and students can earn money and develop life-planning skills through NIL. Before the ruling, students had less autonomy, and coaches could not be as creative when building their teams.

On the Impact of NIL and the Transfer Portal at MSU

While discussing the decision’s impact on the future of college athletics, Fralick said she sees the ruling as neutral and that universities will need to figure out what it means for their teams.

“The portal [is] interesting because the portal’s quite equitable,” she said. “I always say, ‘a good player can leave as easily as a good player can come.’ We all have access to the same portal – we all can see what’s going on.”

Nightingale echoed this and highlighted the positive impact that these changes will have on the students’ lives.

“I think the responsibility we have as coaches is a very big one, and the opportunity we have with the ages of our guys and girls [deciding] their next step,” he said.

NIL Brings New Opportunities for Student Athletes

Later in the conversation, the coaches highlighted the students’ life-planning opportunities and access to lawyers and financial planners, setting them up for success. Haller elaborated on the three pillars pivotal to their sports programs – Empower, Educate, and Innovate, which he said makes MSU athletics valuable and “on the front edge of what’s going on.”

“Empower our student-athletes to take advantage of this landscape and … make sure that they’re using their brand in a way that does not hurt them in the future,” he said. “Educate [to] understanding tax laws and contracts and all the things going on nationally and keeping them up to date on what’s happening in the national landscape and then innovating.”

This session was hosted by Michigan State University.