Virginia Fan Q&A: NIL, Baseball Chances, Football Partners

It’s Friday at TheSabre.com so it’s time for another Virginia fan Q&A. A newer feature on the site, we take questions and give our opinions or find an answer. This week, there are questions on NIL, UVA baseball, and division-less football.

If you want to ask a question, just email us or post it on the EDGE board each week. Go Hoos!

With the advent of NIL should UVA try to “keep up with the Joneses” and “pay to play” or await what essentially would be a realignment of schools into levels of competition? ~ Slider

It’s hard to turn a college sports corner anywhere and not hear the letters NIL right now. From NCAA guidance to conference meetings to leadership councils and on and on, everyone is trying to figure out the rapidly changing landscape when it comes to college athletics and name, image, and likeness opportunities.

At the root of all the chatter: what are the fair marketing opportunities and what are the booster-driven or at least booster-adjacent deals that amount to illegal recruiting. It’s a complicated situation. I’ve been linking related articles in NewsLink this week so anyone interested can check that out and here’s one on Tony Elliott’s perspective from the site.

Now, for the question at hand. Virginia fans have genuine worries about how all of these shifts could impact the Cavaliers with most of those concerns titled toward football and men’s basketball. Whether it’s part of the fanbase wanting nothing to do with anything that involves paying players or another part wanting to leverage NIL to help the programs or some in general worrying about UVA’s slow approach to adjustments, there’s this undertone of “how can the Hoos compete?” in this environment.

There’s also the historical tension for how athletics fit into the overall University ecosystem. That dates back to the Gooch Report in the 1950’s and a Virginia Strategic Planning Task Force’s suggestion to reduce scholarships and tier sports near the turn of the century. The most recent one included eliminating scholarships from baseball, for example.

Both of those cases, I believe, provide an answer – or at least clues toward one – for the question. When those things played out in the past, UVA ended up choosing athletics as an important part of the school and supported things in a way to be sustainably successful. I think Virginia, within its own principles, will remain in the Joneses’ neighborhood this time too.

With that said, the “pay for play” part of the equation is murky and needs some guardrails I think. Not that there are easy solutions. Virginia won’t likely get into this part of the race where recruits and transfers are offered NIL deals simply for choosing UVA.

None of that answers the “should” part, though. I think a poll of Virginia fans would get split results on that. For me, personally, I think the Hoos should remain a part of competitive collegiate athletics and navigating NIL is just part of that now.

Virginia
Brandon Neeck can be a key relief option for the Virginia baseball team. ~ Photo By Kris Wright/TheSabre.com

What needs to happen with the pitching staff for the Hoos to have a deep run in the tourney? Can this club make it to Omaha? ~ hoorulestheacc

I’m not a baseball expert in any way,

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