National media members constantly mistake the Big 12 as a two-team conference with little else to offer.
But the Big 12 is a fascinating collection of teams and fans, with dynamic NCAAF odds and a true round-robin schedule. In particular, the Texas schools are always competing and trying to find some kind of edge against one another.
That’s where today’s strange and amusing sports story comes from.
Texas Tech: Cactus Emoji Now At the Center of TCU Rivalry
There’s an awful lot of money being thrown around in Lubbock right now. One week after announcing a new $200 million football facilities capital project, a NIL collective called The Matador Club made a big announcement regarding financial support for Texas Tech players.
The Matador Club is signing all 85 Texas Tech scholarship football players to a $25,000 annual NIL deal, with the money faucet turning on in August.
The $25,000 deal will also be extended to 20 walk-on players. That’s 105 players total, for a bottom-line cost of $2,125,000.
I’ll pause here for you to write whatever joke you like. Something like, “maybe all that money will finally get Texas Tech to eight wins!”
The Matador Club, the donor collective set up to support Texas Tech, is set to sign virtually the entire football team to 1-year, $25,000 contracts renewable annually. @SportsBizMiss @Blake_Lawrence @opendorse https://t.co/ijPCUMyj97
— Don Williams (@AJ_DonWilliams) July 18, 2022
In all seriousness, NIL funding on this scale is a very powerful tool in college football.
That’s doubly true when considering the power vacuum that could be created in the Big 12 with Texas and Oklahoma leaving for the SEC.
This is around the time where TCU decided to get into the mix. The Horned Frogs’ recruiting analyst, Bryan Carrington, started a thread on Twitter that spoke to how short-sighted he felt the Texas Tech NIL deal was.
“Y’all really gotta stop romanticizing what appears to be ‘unique NIL deals!’” Carrington said. “While they wave what appears to be a big number I urge you to ask these schools to quantify your brand potential as an individual entity, separate from the university in the same market!”
It went on for a while.
Then and maybe then you’ll get the real truth! Don’t make a life altering decisions over donut-seeds. An extra 2k a month ain’t maximizing off your NIL. It’s a glorified stipend check 🙅🏾♂️🤣 pic.twitter.com/hgATGwSNpZ
— Bryan Carrington (@CoachBC_) July 19, 2022
Carrington is a recruiting coordinator, so he has to maintain the charade that the No. 4 weak-side linebacker on the depth chart has valuable branding potential.
We should all just be grown-ups and admit this money is almost never about personal branding and almost always about paying players to come to our school over your school.
I can’t begrudge Carrington for keeping up appearances, though, because that’s his job. So let’s table his actual point in the thread for another day.
Frankly, his overall argument isn’t what anyone reacted to, anyway.
That’s because in one segment of his thread, he referred to the new Lubbock NIL deal as Texas Tech “attempting to ‘build their a brand’ in a desert.”
Carrington dropped the cactus emoji.
Then, it was on.
Texas Tech, TCU Trade Barbs Over Cactus Emoji
Yes, I can’t believe I just wrote those words in that order, either. But it’s late July, and almost nothing else is happening, so the college football betting world is strangely fixated on two Texas schools arguing about an emoji.
— The Rowdy Raider 🌵 (@RowdyRedRaider0) July 19, 2022
All of Texas Tech Twitter today pic.twitter.com/KoGLdFdSMP
— Talkin’ Tech Podcast 🌵 (@TalkinTechPod) July 20, 2022
— Lawrence Schovanec (@TexasTechPres) July 20, 2022
There’s also another element to this story about TCU’s athletic director trying to stop fans from other schools from buying single-game tickets and flooding Horned Frogs home games.
Maybe we’ll just leave that part for another day, though. For now, there are just too many spicy cactus tweets to enjoy.
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