Who is Reek? Well, it's you UTEP. Sorry.

Texas basketball programs as Game of Thrones characters

With Game of Thrones right around the corner and the close of college basketball season upon us I figured it would be a nice time to see which of our favorite characters matched with the various Texas basketball programs.

OBVIOUSLY THERE ARE SPOILERS BELOW SO IF YOU AREN'T CAUGHT UP COME BACK LATER

Texas Tech - Jon Snow

Easy to root for and when you think of where they came from you would never expect them to be in the spot they are now. Chris Beard's infectious charm almost matches Snow's puzzled looks when he knows nothing and heroic bravery in various situations throughout the show. Tubby Smith leaving was the Night's Watch turning on Jon. Beard is the revived Snow ready for all challenges.



Houston - Daenerys Targaryen

Also easy to root for. Kelvin Sampson is Tyrion Lannister who was once a blue blood since shunned for something that wasn't his fault. Dana Holgorsen is Jorah Mormont because the hair is perfect. Tilman Fertitta's money is the dragons. It equalizes the playing field. Also, have you ever made a Houston fan mad? They yell at you so crazily it resembles the speak of the Dothraki horde. Oh, and they're loyal.



Texas - Jamie Lannister

A once proud and fierce warrior forced to relive old war success is a lot like winning the NIT. There's still expectations that tradition is held for both Texas and Jamie. You're Texas and a Lannister after all! Alas, you're not quite sure they can get it done these days. They're still hung up on their sister/ex too.



Texas A&M - Cersei Lannister

Spend all the money until the problem is fixed. Buzz Williams and Jimbo Fisher might as well be The Gold Company coming to fix the problems in the kingdom. Never thought they could be king but now there's a chance they are the winners in Game of Thrones. Still hung up on their brother/ex too.



Baylor - Bran Stark

They sort of wander in and out of the story and when they are they you're not sure they're all there but hey they're family right? Incidents have kept them from ending up as a more relevant character but they aren't going away anytime soon.



SMU - Sansa Stark

Again, family and please pay attention. Please. Have been led astray by an older man (Larry Brown) but hopefully back on the right path. There's a future here, just not sure it is bright. Also, I've met more than a few SMU girls who acted like early season Sansa.



TCU - Arya Stark

The child with a ton of potential except all those dang obstacles keep getting in the way. The latest being someone wants to take your coach just like the Waif was trying to take Arya's life when she was training with The Faceless Men. There's a few frat boy programs that could end up on the pointy end.



Stephen F. Austin - Tormund Giantsbane

Wild. Definitely a factor in certain situations. Might be a while before they are more than just a warm body in battle but in the past have played key roles. Did we mention East Texas is kinda like North of the Wall?



Texas Southern/Prarie View A&M - Brotherhood Without Banners

They're going to be there and there going to be annoying but you don't see any way they're surviving. Just like these two programs have been in the tournament but you're certain they are over matched. They'll be back though.



Rice - Samwell Tarly

Smart and useless in battle but might sneak up on an enemy and accidentally kill them every now and then. Did I mention really smart?


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Bringing NIL deals to high schools will have some challenges. Photo via: Wiki Commons.

Name, image, and likeness, or NIL as it has been known, has been a hotly debated topic. When some states allowed college athletes to start getting paid through NIL deals, others had to follow suit. NIL deals basically allow athletes to get paid from endorsements and the like. They can make appearances, sign autographs, and get endorsements. No longer can schools make a king's ransom off the backs of these athletes without the athletes themselves benefitting from their popularity.

Sponsorships are also allowed, which started some of this years ago when Jeremy Bloom was a pro skier who also played college football at Colorado. Bloom wasn't allowed to have sponsorships, which was a HUGE part of his skiing career, if he wanted to continue to play college football. After fighting a losing battle when the NCAA declared him permanently ineligible, Bloom went on to compete in the 2006 Winter Olympics. He went on to have a couple short stints in the NFL, but his football career never materialized.

When a few states took the NIL law and opened it to high school student athletes, they REALLY opened a can of worms! Other states are now in full scramble mode trying to figure out how can they make this work, do they want to make this work, and wondering if this will open Pandora's Box. Newsflash: Pandora's Box has been open longer than your local grocery store chain. Schools have been paying for play ever since time began. SMU got the dreaded "Death Penalty" in the 80s behind it. Teams have seemingly had wink-wink agreements not to out one another. But high schools? This is a bit much.

AAU, club, and travel sports have had a shady undertone that's been more intense over the last 20 years or so. This is especially true in AAU basketball, where shoe companies and the like have long been "sponsors" of teams. Follow your favorite NBA player's career from high school to the league, then see what shoe company he signs with. I guarantee there's a pipeline in most cases straight from the sponsors of his AAU/high school team to his shoe deal.

Bringing NIL deals to high schools will have some challenges. For example: I heard this past weekend that a prominent high school player has an NIL deal in place with Bentley. What if said school sees a kid at another school, possibly in another state that may not have NIL deals for high schoolers. What's stopping said school from relocating this kid and family by offering them new jobs as well as an NIL deal? Private schools and charter schools aren't regulated like public schools. What's going to stop them from using funds to create a factory of college athletes by offering what other schools can't as far as NIL is concerned?

Here in Texas, football is king. Specifically, high school football. You can go to any town on a Friday night, and the local high school stadium is packed to the brim. If any of you think those towns won't band together to offer kids the best NIL deals they can in order to gain any advantage, you're crazy. States will need to hurry and approve this to stay competitive, but they'll also need to regulate it as best and as fast as they can to prevent a wild west scenario. I can see this getting out of hand quickly, but then some will step in to regulate it as soon as the scales no longer tilt in favor of the rich and powerful.

Texas is an oil rich state. New tech companies are moving here in droves because of the state tax laws. That's why the housing market is looking the way it is now. With the way high school football is like a religion here, imagine if NIL deals are allowed? What's stopping a powerhouse program from becoming invincible and cranking out 10-20 or more top tier D1 athletes from a single graduating class on a single team? We already see it with these human athlete factories masquerading as high schools.

I'm all for student athletes taking advantage of NIL. However, it has to be regulated. Why not have agents get trained and certified like pros do. Then also have them register in each state and pass a state certification, similar to the way lawyers or real estate agents have to. Now everyone is state and/or federally certified to help kids get what they can above board in NIL deals. This could've helped prevent Nick Saban's ignorant comments from last week by bringing much needed law and order to the wild west of NIL deals. Until it happens, we'll have to wait and see. In the meantime, I'll sit and watch the utter CHAOS (in my Khal voice)!

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