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The college football offseason was all about tit-for-tats over name, image and likeness (NIL) deals and realignment across the major conferences in the sport.
Alabama’s Nick Saban, Texas A&M’s Jimbo Fisher and Jackson State’s Deion Sanders were all in a dustup over how NIL affected recruiting while USC and UCLA made the shocking decision to announce their intentions of moving from the Pac-12 Conference to the Big Ten Conference.
NIL deals and the extra pay for college athletes is a relatively new thing, but athletes have been cashing in. Alabama’s Bryce Young inked a deal with a local BMW dealership, Texas running back Bijan Robinson got a deal with Lamborghini, and USC transfer Caleb Williams got a deal with Fanatics Authentic and Beats by Dre after joining the Trojans.
Tim Tebow speaks during the 2022 International Poverty Forum at Porsche Cars North America, March 4, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia. (Derek White/Getty Images)
Tim Tebow was one of the biggest college football stars from 2006 to 2009. He led the Gators to a national championship in 2008. He also won the title when he was a freshman in 2006. Tebow was awarded the Heisman Trophy in 2007.
Over the last year, Tebow partnered with Clean Juice and became the company’s national brand ambassador. Clean Juice also announced Tebow’s first franchise will be opening in Florida next month. He told Fox News Digital in a recent interview that it was tough to say whether he would’ve been heavily involved with NIL during his collegiate career but said there should be “guardrails” in place.
“I think it’s so hard to answer a hypothetical,” Tebow said. “It’s just so different, right? I think part of NIL is really cool. You get to see so many athletes that get supported. I also think that it’s important we also kind of put up guardrails in place for the teams and the coaches and everyone to understand the do’s and don’ts of it.
Tim Tebow was one of the biggest college football stars from 2006 to 2009 as quarterback of the Florida Gators. (Daniel/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
“I think there’s still a lot to figure out. I think it’s hard to answer that [hypothetical], but if you had the chance to partner with awesome people like this, it also could be pretty cool.”
The NCAA adopted its interim NIL policy in June 2021, days after the Supreme Court unanimously decided the organization was violating antitrust laws while student-athletes weren’t being compensated.
Tebow said he’s not surprised how fast NIL took off.
“I thought when people were talking about it, I thought it was going to take off pretty fast in some really good ways, and in some ways where people are going to have to figure it out. I think there’s still a lot that’s going to take place. I hope that the right people come together and do the right thing for student-athletes and the right thing for the game,” Tebow told Fox News Digital.
“I think that really, really matters. And not just for the conferences. I hope they do the right thing for the players and the right thing for the game. And I hope those come first.”
Head coach Urban Meyer, left, and quarterback Tim Tebow during a game between the Troy Trojans and the Florida Gators at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Florida. (Cliff Welch/Icon SMI/Corbis/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Texas and Oklahoma deciding to move to the SEC came before USC and UCLA’s decision to the Big Ten. Additionally, Charlotte, Florida Atlantic, North Texas, Rice, UAB and UTSA moved from Conference USA to the American Athletic Conference while Marshall, Old Dominion and Southern Miss head for the Sun Belt.
Tebow predicted, in the end, college football could be aligned into three conferences.
“I would still guess it would be at least three, in my head and heart. I think it would have been hard to just have two. I think there’s too many good teams that need to be a part of it. I do think it’s moving more that way. I think at least three, I hope it would be at least that many. It’s just too big across the country,” Tebow said.
Tim Tebow of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks on during training camp at TIAA Bank Field, July 30, 2021, in Jacksonville, Florida. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)
“I mean, what’s the ACC going to do? They going to have a west coast league of the ACC? What’s going to happen with all the teams in the Big 12, right? You’ve got the SEC that’s growing, but, you know, so much has to happen. There’s so many hypotheticals. And I’ll be honest, I don’t even think a lot of people are making the decisions even know what’s going to happen right now.”
Alabama is certainly looked at as the favorites to win the national championship year in and year out. But Tebow said this year they for sure have one of the best teams in college football. He went even further and predicated the Crimson Tide would be handling the trophy come January 2023.
“If I had to guess right now, I would probably lean towards ‘Bama. They’re so talented. Literally, probably the best offensive players and the best defensive player on their team,” Tebow said. “They did really good in the transfer portal, got another running back, a couple more receivers. Their secondary is going to be really good. Also, on the other side of Will Anderson, you have pass rushers on both edges. That’s a really talented team.
“And I think Georgia, Ohio State will all be very good. If Texas A&M can figure out the quarterback position, I think they’ll be really good. There’s a lot of teams that are going to compete. I think one of the biggest things for ‘Bama is can you handle the gauntlet of the SEC? It’s going to be a fascinating season.”
Ryan Gaydos is the sports editor for Fox News and Fox Business. Story tips can be sent to Ryan.Gaydos@fox.com.