South Carolina AD Ray Tanner on NIL, college football, and more

Athletics director Ray Tanner speaks before introducing South Carolina's new men's basketball coach to Gamecocks Lamont Paris speaking at a press conference introducing Paris at Colonial Life Arena Thursday, March 24, 2022.

Athletics director Ray Tanner speaks before introducing South Carolina’s new men’s basketball coach to Gamecocks Lamont Paris speaking at a press conference introducing Paris at Colonial Life Arena Thursday, March 24, 2022.

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Ray Tanner has spent time in the Florida Panhandle nearly every year for the past decade.

These days, Tanner is among the top statesmen in the room when athletic directors gather for the Southeast Conference for the Sunshine State’s annual Spring Meetings. He is currently the second longest-serving in the Premier League after Kentucky’s Mitch Barnhart – who has been at the helm of Lexington since 2002.

This gives one perspective that only time can hold.

“We have a lot to be proud of at this conference,” Tanner told The State. “I have had 26 years in the league now (as an advertising coach and baseball). So it was great to be a part of such a great league.”

This week, Tanner and the league’s athletic directors spent countless hours discussing everything from possible changes to the SEC . Football Scheduling Form For adjustments in the deadline for the transition between sports conferences.

Slapping at the heart of the seaside debates, though, has been the growing frustration with the inconsistent regulations surrounding name, image and example in collegiate athletics.

“The kind of name, image, and likeness criteria that underpin some kind of fair national competition, I think are really important in college athletics and college football,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said Tuesday. “We’ve always had that.”

The NCAA has largely stood by in terms of regulating student-athlete payments out of fear of potential legal challenges and, most likely, antitrust lawsuits that would be brought if they tried to do so.

This is what left federations, states and schools to regulate not having enough, if they so choose, like this Create contradictions in all areas.

“There’s a lot of ‘what if’ being discussed, and a lot of ‘what if’,” Mississippi State President Mark Keenum told reporters Thursday regarding the future of college athletics. “Nobody has answers — no definitive answers, sure.”

South Carolina and other states are currently constrained by restrictions on their ability to participate in NIL deals compared to more navigable laws elsewhere.

Current South Carolina law prohibits schools from administering NIL deals to student-athletes and/or having any real business approach to the process.

This, however, is set to change.

The South Carolina law passed in April 2021 is largely expected to be suspended on July 1, opening the door for the university to take a more direct approach to the NIL and working athletes through potential deals.

Tanner told The State that he would also not rule out USC working to manage deals internally, as well as providing educational measures that would help athletes avoid potentially harmful deals that might be signed under the current structure. The law must be suspended.

It’s still a little bit, maybe a little vague,” Tanner said. “But we all want to help. You don’t want athletes to get into any kind of agreement where they have a problem with it, can be sued, or they think they have a chance and it gets nullified.

“We want to be collaborative, and I think that’s the key ingredient. But when you see these big numbers – well, I can live with these big numbers. Let’s just make sure it’s all done for the right reasons and in the right way.”

One envisioned solution to the set of state laws now on the books is to push student-athletes to become employees of their own schools. This, however, has its own drawbacks.

The South Carolina athletics division, for example, was operating at a loss during fiscal 2020, according to documents obtained by the state, mostly due to issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic. That doesn’t include the nearly $15 million in buyouts the school has incurred over the past two years to fire the soccer coach. Will Muchamp Men’s basketball coach Frank Martin.

If student-athletes become salaried employees, the stark financial reality will create a vacuum that most schools will not be able to sustain under the current structure.

“It’s just my opinion – once we go out there, the model gets into trouble once the athletes become employees,” Tanner said. “I think the intercollegiate model has serious issues and once you get past that — some people say we already exist — I don’t think we’re really there, yet.”

This does not mean that South Carolina is withering under pressure to monetize college athletes or that it is on the verge of financial collapse.

Tanner told The State USC that she is working on a return to working in black. It has also benefited, at least in part, from the excitement around it Shane Beamer Football Program The women’s basketball team Latest national title By increasing ticket sales (Tanner did not provide exact numbers because those numbers are still up) and marketing.

“When coach (Don) Staley wins a national championship, you can’t buy that marketing,” Tanner explained. “You can’t pay for that and that’s massive. And her personality – her presentation and her platform – not only reach women’s basketball, she crosses all barriers and lines. She is incredible.”

College sports have changed as much in Tanner’s decade as AD in South Carolina. NIL, the transfer portal and conference reorganization are just recent parts of that.

The influx of money through TV deals and conference proceeds has also increased pressure on advertising to hire trained employees – the most outwardly faced with their job responsibilities. For example, Tanner has received a lot of criticism in recent days for not moving from his place Baseball coach Mark Kingston. (He said he would not comment on the matter at this time.)

However, Tanner said the latest list of big-picture issues discussed in Destin keeps him looking intently toward the future. After all, no change after a while becomes boring.

“It activates,” he said. “I don’t think you want anything to be stagnant. You want to progress.”

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Ben Portnoy is a South Carolina-based football hitting writer. He has been honored five times with the Associated Press Sports Editors Award and received recognition from the Mississippi Press Association and the National Sports Media Association. Portnoy previously covered Mississippi for Columbus Commercial Dispatch and Indiana football at the Journal Gazette in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.