In a memo first reported on by Ross Dellenger of Sports Illustrated, the NCAA seemed to be not-so-subtly making comments towards Texas A&M. This memo comes on the heels of the announcement by the 12th Man Foundation about their new NIL endeavor, 12th Man+.
As the story says, the memo does not mention Texas A&M by name; however, the content thereof does seem to be in direct response to the TMF’s recent announcement. The biggest point of suspicion is the fact that it seems that donors can earn “priority points” from the university through donating to specific athletes or sports.
It seems to me, however, that the contention would be that the priority points, tickets, whatever the case may be, are given by the university to the TMF in exchange for fundraising services and then can be dispensed by the TMF at the foundation’s discretion. Dellenger writes in the article,
"Whether A&M is violating the NCAA’s NIL policy is a matter of debate. Is the A&M fundraising arm too tethered to the university to be operating NIL? Is the quid pro quo —athletes endorsing the foundation itself—legal in the NCAA’s eyes? After all, the foundation’s mission is to support the university—another close tie.As for providing priority points to boosters for gifts to the 12th Man Foundation’s collective, Bjork says donors still must make separate donations tethered to season tickets to receive benefits such as priority points. Many foundations, like A&M’s, own such assets, leasing them from a university."
This latter part seems clear-cut. I suppose the question is, as Dellenger says, whether the Texas A&M is too closely tied to the foundation in the first place, which would be a much more difficult thing to litigate. Indeed, if the NCAA does, in fact, pursue some sort of action, litigation would likely be the result, as they have lost court battle after court battle in this arena.
It remains to be seen whether the NCAA will actually do anything or if this is a simple intimidation tactic. For an organization as toothless as the NCAA is at this moment, it would be unwise to throw into even sharper relief the fact that they have no legal standing to deny such activities. Taking action here could even be something that eventually leads to what several prognosticators have predicted for some time: the breakaway of major conferences to form their own ruling organization.