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Kirk Herbstreit Names 'Inevitable' Change To College Football

ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit on the set.

CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 25: ESPN College Gameday host Kirk Herbstreit listens to the conversation prior to a college football game between the Notre Dame Fighting Irish and the Wisconsin Badgers on September 25th, 2021 at Solider Field in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Dan Sanger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

NIL options have created a whirlwind of uncharted territory in college sports. As the NCAA works toward regulating players' sudden autonomy, Kirk Herbstreit believes they can eventually carve out a larger piece of the pie.

During a Friday interview on The Pat McAfee Show (h/t On3's Stephen Samra), the longtime College GameDay anchor called it a "given" that NIL benefits are here to stay. In fact, Herbstreit believes athletes will eventually push to receive revenue from some of the NCAA's big-money TV deals.

"I think that there’s another step to this," Herbstreit said. "With the TV networks — I never really said this publicly — but with the TV networks giving a lot of money to college athletics, I think it’s inevitable that eventually the players are going to have it, whether it’s a union or somebody’s going to represent them, and they’re going to say, 'Hey, why not allow us to have a share of the television money?'"

While he said it's "great to see" players capitalize on NIL opportunities, Herbstreit also acknowledged that the current process "does need some rules."

"I mean, the NFL has rules for free agency. There’s rules that you have to abide by," Herbstreit continued. "Right now in college athletics, there are no rules. So, I think that needs to be curtailed, and under control. But I do think that the players right now have a ton of momentum.”

Herbstreit pointed to a "firehose" of activity occurring around college sports. While players can now license their names and make money on endorsement deals, that pales in comparison to some of the massive earnings funneling through the major sports and conferences from TV networks.

The NCAA almost certainly wouldn't willingly share any of that revenue without a fight.