Are NIL deals keeping college athletes from playing Sunday Night Football?

If you could make the same amount of money as an amateur athlete that you would as a professional, which level of athleticism would you choose?






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2023 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year cornerback Ahmad “Sauce” Gardiner was selected No. 4 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft to the New York Jets. David Becker / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

When the 2023 NFL draft deadline for players to renounce their college football eligibility came in mid-January, 82 players submitted their names.

This is 18 fewer players than last year’s 100 names submitted in the draft and almost 40% fewer than the 135 athletes in 2019.

To play in the NFL is the biggest dream to achieve as a football player. So why are fewer and fewer college athletes aspiring to play in the big league?

Well, the answer is quite simple: NIL.

Thanks to the NCAA’s new NIL law that allows student-athletes to profile off of their name, image, and likeness, many college football players are able to earn millions and millions of dollars.

In other words, college football athletes are able to earn more money than NFL rookies on gridiron.

The player who needs to leave college football early for financial reasons can now remain in school, reel in a massive income, and improve their draft stock for the following year’s draft.

College money vs. NFL rookie money






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Fourth-year senior Blake Corum ranks as one of the highest paid college athletes and football players in the nation. MATTHEW HOLST / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / GETTY IMAGES VIA AFP

Keep in mind, when talking about the athletes who can make more money in college than in the pros, we aren’t talking about first-round picks like Alabama’s Bryce Young or Ohio State’s CJ Stroud, who are set to make over $30 million dollars per year in their rookie contract.

Instead, we are talking about players like running back Blake Corum.

The fourth-year Michigan Wolverine has an NIL value of $1.2 million dollars, and is set to come back for a final year of college football.

Corum is one of the top highest paid college athletes today and one of the highest paid football players in the NCAA.

Unlike the money-making rusher, NFL rookies of the same position can make a high of $600,000 per year. This money does not include taxes, agent fees, union dues, 401k, and insurance.

Taking all that into account, playing another year of college doesn’t sound too shabby! Especially when you can earn twice as much by just being an amateur.

Corum will open the 2023-24 college football season with his Wolverine team on September 2 against the East Carolina Pirates on the road.

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