Rooney: CU Buffs AD Rick George in the middle of NCAA’s unfolding transfer, NIL drama

NIL proposals should be revealed this week

University of Colorado AD Rick George talks to the media about Mel Tucker. New University of Colorado head football coach, Mel Tucker, is introduced at the Dal Ward Center at the University of Colorado on December 6, 2018.

A hearty congrats to Laviska Shenault, Davion Taylor, and Arlington Hambright, the latest Colorado Buffaloes to hear their names called in the NFL draft.

The NCAA landscape they are leaving behind might be unrecognizable in a few short years.

While sports fans reveled in a much-needed distraction during the three days of the NFL draft, with the world so starved for competition sport was made of comparing the man caves of NFL coaches and general managers, the NCAA in recent days quietly addressed a pair of the biggest issues lingering over every campus.

Name, image and likeness reform is coming soon. Allowing first-time transfers immediate eligibility might be temporarily shoved aside.

CU athletic director Rick George has been in the middle of both storms, serving on the transfer working group as well as the committee that has been discussing and analyzing the loosening of name, image and likeness restrictions that has essentially been forced upon the NCAA by various state governments, including Colorado.

According to a report published Thursday by the Associated Press, the name, image and likeness recommendations will be presented to the NCAA Board of Governors, which meets on Monday and Tuesday. The measures then would be voted upon in January for possible implementation in 2021.

The recommendations cited in the AP report will allow student-athletes to make endorsement and sponsorship deals, even with companies or individual entrepreneurs considered athletic department boosters. Team apparel or insignias would not be allowed to be visible in such deals, and the student-athletes would be required to disclose the financial details of their deals with their athletic departments.

Even if approved by the Board of Governors, the proposals could be altered before the January final vote. Last month, the Colorado state legislature passed a bill that would prevent state universities from prohibiting student-athletes from profiting off their name, image and likeness. A similar resolution was passed in California last year and is on the table in a number of states.

Had he arrived in Boulder a few years later, Shenault might have been a pitch man for McGuckin Hardware.

While that issue appears to be progressing as expected, the transfer proposal might unexpectedly be put on the backburner. With traction gaining for athletes in all sports to be allowed at least one undergraduate transfer free of a sit-out year — which, without a waiver, is required at CU in football and men’s and women’s basketball, but no other sports — the Division I council suggested postponing a possible vote on the matter until January 2021. The expectation had been that the vote would be held in May, allowing the latest wave of transfers to be immediately eligible for the 2020-21 academic year.

That vote might still happen in May, but if it gets tabled until January it means Buffs like new CU women’s basketball player Tayanna Jones, a transfer from Georgetown, or former men’s basketball player Daylen Kountz, who recently relocated to Northern Colorado, will have to wait until the 2021-22 season to return to the court.

The council cited that dealing with more pressing issues amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic that has shut down athletics at all levels has made implementing immediate changes to the transfer rules problematic. It’s difficult to quibble with that. Athletic directors like George are dealing with pay cuts to staff, possible sport cuts, and the mad scramble to make the 2020 football season happen as soon as possible.

If form holds true George, who has taken questions during media conference calls roughly every other week since the shutdown began, once again will meet the media this upcoming week. It seems he will have plenty to discuss.