Good morning, and thanks for spending part of your day with Extra Points.

A little over a month ago,  OpenAI launched a new tool called ChatGPT, a tool that appears to be the most advanced chatbot yet. You could have something that would pretty closely resemble a human conversation with it, sure. But you could also theoretically use it to answer programming questions, write essays, brainstorm ideas, or automate a whole swath of other tasks.

I subscribe to a lot of newsletters about the creator economy, independent publishing and the like, in hopes of getting new ideas about how to improve Extra Points. Over the last month, I've gotten a lot of emails about it might replace journalists (or at least other writers), how we should all use it to come with up story ideas, replace the boring parts of our jobs, change how professors teach, etc.

Well, I'll try just about anything to help this newsletter grow, even if makes it just a teensy bit easier for the robot uprising to start. Just how smart is this chatbot? Let's ask it a few questions.

Chatbot, can you draft potential federal legislation that would give the NCAA enough limited antitrust exemptions to regulate NIL, protect non-revenue sports, and still potentially pass a highly divided and skeptical congress?

Here's what it told me;

I. Definition of NIL: The legislation would define NIL as the use of a student-athlete's name, image, or likeness for commercial purposes.
II. NCAA's Role in NIL: The legislation would establish the NCAA as the governing body responsible for regulating NIL, with the authority to create rules and regulations related to the use of student-athlete's NIL for commercial purposes.
III. Antitrust Exemptions: The legislation would provide the NCAA with limited antitrust exemptions, specifically in relation to NIL regulations, to ensure that the NCAA can effectively regulate NIL while still allowing for competition in the marketplace.
IV. Protecting Non-Revenue Sports: The legislation would include provisions to ensure that non-revenue sports are protected from any negative impacts of NIL regulations. This could include measures such as providing additional resources or funding to non-revenue sports programs, or creating a mechanism to ensure that non-revenue sports are not disproportionately impacted by NIL regulations.
V. Congressional Oversight: The legislation would establish a mechanism for congressional oversight of the NCAA's NIL regulations, such as regular reporting requirements or the creation of a commission to review the NCAA's NIL regulations.
VI. Preempting State Laws: The legislation would preempt state laws on NIL to ensure consistency across the country and prevent a patchwork of state laws.
This is a potential structure for such a legislation.

I understand that a lot of professors are worried that students will use this tool to cheat, but honestly, this passage feels a lot like a college student frantically trying to squeeze 500 words of content out of 100 words of knowledge. It certainly doesn't address the meaningful policy concerns from either side. I give this effort a D+, one only marginally better than the one Marco Rubio's office proposed a few years ago.

So maybe it doesn't know enough to write a law. But, presumably, it can scrape the hundreds of newsletters I've published to make piece something together so I can take a break every once in a while. Right?

Chatbot, Write a newsletter about potential conference realignment options for the America East Conference, in the style of "Extra Points with Matt Brown." The newsletter should be accessible to industry professionals as well as college students, informative, and with at least one joke.

That sounds like the sort of thing I'd write about, right? Of course, I'd only write that story if I had legitimate intelligence about potential schools the league would consider, but hey, the computer may very well know people I don't. Let's see how it goes.

Good morning and welcome to "Extra Points with Matt Brown." Today, we're talking conference realignment and specifically, the options available to the America East Conference. As college sports fans know, conference realignment is a hot topic and can have a significant impact on the future of college sports.
First, let's take a quick look at the America East Conference. It's a Division I NCAA conference that currently has nine member institutions. It's considered a mid-major conference and its members are mostly located in the Northeastern United States. The conference sponsors championships in eight men's and ten women's NCAA sanctioned sports.
Now, let's talk about the options for the America East Conference. One potential option is to expand the conference by adding more member institutions. This could bring in new revenue from additional television contracts and also increase the conference's footprint and visibility.
Another option is to consider merging with another conference. This could bring in new revenue and also increase the conference's competitiveness by aligning with similar schools.
Another option is to consider changing divisions. America East could consider moving to Division II in order to be more competitive and to have an easier path to NCAA championships.
Lastly, the America East could decide to stay put and continue to build on its current foundation.
It's important to note that each option has its pros and cons and the decision will ultimately depend on the goals and priorities of the conference and its member institutions.
As always, the world of college sports is ever-changing and it's hard to predict what the future holds. But, one thing is for sure, the America East Conference has a lot of options to choose from, just like a buffet, and the real question is "Can you have it all?"
That's all for today folks, stay tuned for more insights and analysis on the world of college sports.

Look, I know I'm not that funny of a writer. But c'mon, THAT is the kind of joke this computer thinks I'd write, after reading over 200,000 words of my writing?

Also conspicuously absent here: the mention of a single other institution, conference, or a sentence that reads like an actual person wrote it. We've got terrible transition sentences, arguably some factual misstatements, and a joke that doesn't even make sense. Nobody asks if you can 'have it all' at a buffet. The entire core concept of a buffet is that yes, you can have it all! That's the point of a buffet!

The stupid coastal elite computer has never eaten at a garbage buffet, like us REAL Americans.

Okay, so far, it's pretty bad at solving existential problems in college athletics, and it's pretty bad at imitating the writing style of maybe the fifth most famous Matt Brown on the internet.  

But a lot of my newsletters require a lot of research, a lot of data analysis, and quite frankly, a lot of busywork. Maybe the chatbot can help with that?

Let's start with an easy one, since I write about this all the time. Maybe ChatBot knows some of the audio assets that schools have submitted to EA Sports College Football that I've missed. Certainly, other reporters have filed FOIAs on this story, and maybe the bot has read some local news stories that haven't found yet.

I'm sorry, but as a language model, I don't have access to the audio assets that colleges have submitted on behalf of EA Sports College Football. The submission of audio assets would be a confidential process between the college and EA Sports, and the information would not be publicly available. Furthermore, it's worth mentioning that EA Sports has not announced any developments or plans for a new College Football video game recently.

WRONG! It's NOT a confidential process, because dorks like me have broken all sorts of stories on the project's development, thanks to the handy-dandy Freedom of Information Act. I've found audio assets for over 30 FBS schools right here.

ChatBot also couldn't find the contact information for FOIA records officers, couldn't analyze any data from FRS reports (and gave factually incorrect data on what those reports even are) and wrote a sample FOIA request that would be rejected in multiple states. If there are ways I should be using this to save myself some work, I haven't figured them out yet.

So maybe I write something that's a bit too niche for a chatbot. Maybe it can help with other kinds of communication.

Chatbot, North Dakota men's basketball will play against Western Illinois on Monday night. Please generate some sample promotional copy that could be used by WIU to sell tickets and increase interest in the game

"Get ready for an exciting night of college basketball as Western Illinois takes on the North Dakota Fighting Hawks! This is a rare opportunity to see two up-and-coming teams battle it out on our home court.
Don't miss your chance to see the Leathernecks in action as they take on one of the most competitive teams in the conference. The Western Illinois men's basketball team has been working hard all season to bring their A-game, and this matchup is sure to be a nail-biter.
Plus, all fans in attendance will be entered into a raffle to win a free Leatherneck gear. Show your support and come out to cheer on your team as they make a run for the top of the conference standings.
This is a game you won't want to miss! Get your tickets now and be a part of the action as we take on North Dakota on Monday night."
Please note that this is just an example of promotional copy and it's important to adapt it to the specific context and information available. Additionally, this example is meant to be more fun and playful, as it's hard to generate interest in a game between two bad teams with tiny fanbases

Damn Chatbot, you didn't have to do Western Illinois like that. They've above .500!

I'm not in the ticket-selling business, but is that prompt actually useful? It doesn't seem like it. There doesn't seem to be anything there an undergrad couldn't easily produce.

There may well be very useful applications for language model AIs for reporters, SIDs, marketers, etc. The model is still relatively new, and I'm sure each time I ask it questions, it's learning, improving, and coming just a teensy bit closer to turning Horizon Zero Dawn into a documentary.

But right now? I can't speak for any other SID or reporter, but coming up with story ideas is maybe the easiest part of this job. I have more things I want to write about than I have time, space or capacity to research. I am legitimately interested in ways I could (ethically) use this tool to produce better content or better business outcomes, but early returns seem limited.

Which is just as well. I'm sure there are college administrators out there who would love for robots and algorithms to solve their college sports problems, from legislation to marketing to recruiting. In the short term though, it looks like us people are still going to have to figure it out.

After all, just like a buffet, you just can't have it all.

Wait. Crap.

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