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I understand how easy it can be to beat a joke or a metaphor completely into the ground. Take it from me, the guy who made "Notre Dame went 4-8 jokes" a good four years after the rest of the internet moved on to a new bit.
Both the market-driven NIL marketplace (for social-media endorsements, coaching clinics, etc) and bagman-driven NIL marketplace (uh, everything else) are almost completely unregulated, sure. Like the proverbial Wild West, there's very little, if any, moderating influence from any formalized rule-enforcement bodies.
So I get why people go for the metaphor. But it's not perfect. In a true Wild West situation, a coach upset at another coach for tampering wouldn't complain to the press...they'd lumber down to the tavern and try to shoot the guy. Law enforcement's ability to enforce anything would be so sporadic that schools would flaunt all the other rules, from scholarship limits to academic eligiblity. And shoot, in the True Wild West, circa, oh, 1890-1908 or so...Princeton and Yale would be good.
That's not where we are right now, right? Let's just say it's an unregulated market.
On that note, rather than turning this into six other newsletters, here are a few other takeaways from a turbulent two weeks in the college athlete NIL world: