After five years, a championship ring, two serious injuries, three starts, a transfer portal entry, a coaching change and a transfer portal departure, sixth-year LSU quarterback Myles Brennan announced Monday that he would be retiring permanently from football.
Brennan, who took over from Joe Burrow after the dominant 2019 season and the Tigers’ national championship, played in 18 games over a five-year career with the Tigers, totaling 1,712 yards and 13 touchdowns, but a stomach injury three games in 2020 and a broken arm before 2021 his career prospects as Burrow’s successor have all but dwindled. Convinced to come back from a transfer portal attempt by new head coach Brian Kelly, he was then replaced as the 2022 starter by an Arizona State transfer portal pick-up, and is out of the game once and for all.
But before most of it happened, Brennan signed several NIL deals in the 2021 NIL rush, with companies like Raising Canes, Smoothie King, GameCoin and a local Ford dealer, when he was expected to answer the Tigers. are on a 5 -5 season and losing a Heisman QB.
He hasn’t actually played a game since he signed those deals. He will never play in the Tigers uniform again. But in the utter mess that has come to define the NIL landscape, he may be able to keep these deals despite no longer being on the football team.
The NCAA has made it explicit that NIL deals cannot be strictly performance-oriented. If Brennan got injured in the first game of the season and had to sit again for the rest of the year, his sponsors would essentially still be required by law to keep their end of the deal.
But quitting the sport is a whole different ball game, and is a situation that may or may not be covered by the rushed contracts of the NIL craze after its legalization in July 2021, which already had some legally questionable holes in it during its first year. of student-athlete sponsorship.
“It all depends on the wording. There are escape clauses in many of the contracts where the endorser can walk away from the commitment based on certain behavior of the player,” super agent Leigh Steinberg told Deadspin. “In some cases, the contracts are not specific about whether or not the athlete must be an active player.”
Brennan has confronted the NCAA with yet another predicament in an NIL landscape that is already filled with far more questions than there are answers, and the way this plays out could significantly affect NIL contracts going forward.
“There are clauses in the contract that deal with public conduct,” continues Steinberg, who currently represents Patrick Mahomes. “The reason you have an endorsement is that the company is looking to transfer the player’s popularity. There are all kinds of clauses that the company can escape based on behavior. image of the athlete? For Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka I could say that it has strengthened their brand.”
If his existing contracts overlooked the presence of a “stop clause” and he chooses to honor them in the coming year, all future NIL contracts will certainly very explicitly prevent such a situation from occurring.
While not necessarily a problem per se, the issue of mental health is unavoidable in the current climate the sports world finds itself in. We’ve seen high profile athletes including Ben Simmons, Simone Biles, Calvin Ridley and Naomi Osaka quit sports for non-physical reasons that are still health related, and NIL contracts should theoretically allow that in situations like this.
But do they? It wouldn’t be shocking if NIL contracts didn’t consider an athlete’s mental health — that’s essentially what college sports have been doing for the past 40 years. And given the amount of money that flew around when NIL deals first came about, it’s hard to imagine anything other than a return on investment in the minds of corporate sponsors.