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New NCAA rule changes could bring new challenges for UH Athletics

Published: Jul. 1, 2021 at 5:55 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In the last 24 hours, some of Hawaii’s college stars took advantage of the NCAA’s landmark rule changes.

Like Mililani quarterbacks Dillon Gabriel and McKenzie Milton, each setting up companies commercializing their names — but as for the University of Hawaii, experts say the change could be a disadvantage.

“For the athletes an extraordinarily positive situation, for the university I think it’s fairly negative situation.”

Media Attorney and former UH Regent Jeffrey Portnoy says that UH might lose out on merchandising profits, since athletes can create and sell their own apparel.

On top of that, Portnoy also says that the new rules will hinder recruiting.

“A kid who was gonna be able to go one of the top 50 institutions that is a very significant athlete,” Portnoy told Hawaii News Now. “Is going to earn a lot more money at Ohio State or places like Boise than they can possibly make in Hawaii.”

For the athletes, the ability to earn income while playing, instead of having to wait until they leave school will be welcome, says former Rainbow Wahine softball slugger Bree Soma.

“When you get to college as a student athlete, your job as a student athlete is likely more strenuous, time consuming and more busy than a regular work force job,” Soma said. “Giving these student athletes that opportunity to financially set themselves up, I think it’s going to be good for them.”

“On top of money from promotions, athletes can now hire an agent earlier in their careers.”

Agents like nationally known Leigh Steinberg, who says the Rainbow Warriors and Wahine are in a unique market.

“They are the pro and college team equivalent and they’re pretty much the only game in town,” Steinberg said. “So they get focused in advertisers, sports section, on television, they are the lead athletic item so they’re in a unique position.”

As of right now, this is just speculation, but experts we spoke to say that the future of amateurism in sports has been changed forever.

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