STANZ: Thoughts on Tyrese Hunter, NIL and more

Iowa State Cyclones guard Tyrese Hunter (11) takes a shot over Texas Tech Red Raiders’ forward Kevin Obanor (0), guard Davion Warren (2) and forward Marcus Santos-Silva (14) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Hilton Coliseum Wednesday, Jan 6. 2022, in Ames, Iowa.

Tyrese Hunter is entering the transfer portal and there’s a lot to dig into with that topic. I don’t really even know where to start and I have a lot of thoughts that are going in a lot of different directions so I’m just going to bullet point this thing.

Let’s roll.

*** I can’t blame Tyrese Hunter for doing what he feels is best for him and his family. Not much has come easy for that young man during his 18-plus years of life to this point. Besides playing basketball, that is.

If Hunter felt like he was leaving money on the table by staying at Iowa State, and saw better opportunities to maximize his earning potential elsewhere, then he’s making the right decision.

I will NEVER fault someone for taking advantage of an opportunity to make life-changing money for themselves and their family.

Go secure your bag, young man.

*** This moment is hopefully a wake-up call to everyone involved with Iowa State. There needs to be an organization of efforts to make sure Iowa State is able to stay competitive in this landscape.

Frankly, it probably should have happened a while ago to try and prevent things like this from happening, but that is neither here nor there.

Our publisher Chris Williams confirmed there is an Iowa State collective in the works. I’m interested to see how all of that comes together because Iowa State doesn’t have the benefit of having a Phil Knight, T. Boone Pickens or [insert other insanely rich college athletics fan here] among its alumni base.

The strength of Iowa State’s collective must be in numbers — and that requires everyday fans being willing to perhaps skip a few cups of coffee from Starbucks each month in order to throw a few dollars towards the collective.

There are a lot of people out there who have been wanting and asking for something like this to happen. Someone (or multiple people) was going to have to step up and be the ones to get the ball rolling.

I’m glad to see it coming before Iowa State falls so far behind it can’t recover.

*** WITH THAT SAID, it really freaking sucks that the fans have to foot the bill for this while schools and athletic departments continue to rake in money hand over fist.

The fans have to buy the tickets. The fans have to make donations to the Cyclone Club. The fans have to pay for their parking. The fans have to pay for yearly subscriptions to whatever streaming service is carrying games.

If you don’t do those things, you don’t have any access to your favorite teams.

Now, you’re expected to do the job of making sure there’s enough money to make the roster competitive, too.

College sports are all of a sudden one of the most expensive hobbies you can enjoy.

*** Oh, and don’t forget, even if you do make yourself competitive, and you do start your collective and do all the right things, someone else could still come in and convince your best players to leave because their collective is bigger and can get better deals and give more money to players.

All without repercussions because the governing body has been gutted for failing to do the right things since, oh, I don’t know, the moment it started!

Man, this hobby is sounding stupider and stupider as I write this thing.

*** Before you say, “Oh, well, that’s just like small-market teams in baseball or the NBA or the NFL.” No, it’s not. All of those leagues have a collective bargaining agreement that prevents things like this.

The New York Yankees could probably pay Vladimir Guerrerro Jr. a helluva lot more than the Toronto Blue Jays are, but Vlad Jr. is under contract with the Blue Jays so the Yankees can’t make a move on him without him 1. becoming a free agent after his contract runs out, or 2. giving up assets of their own to secure his talents via a trade.

College athletics presents neither of those things (or really any rules at this point whatsoever) and thus how we’ve ended up in this ridiculous position where people can do whatever the hell they want whenever the hell they want without any repercussions either way.

*** Before you say, “Yeah, well, Iowa State benefits on this too by taking the best players from small conference schools and giving them better opportunities.”

You’re right. Iowa State does benefit in that sense. Just because we can find a way to do the mental math to twist this crazy thing to benefit literally everyone we want to make it benefit depending on our own personal narrative doesn’t make it right.

I don’t know what right is with any of this stuff anymore. That’s how ass-backward we have gotten.

*** It is 100 percent right that players should have the opportunity to profit from their name, image and likeness. Like I said before, I’m all for kids having opportunities to make their lives better. You’ll never, ever hear me argue against that fact.

I ate way too much Ramen while I was in college to fault any kid who has a chance to make some money.

*** It is right to give kids the freedom to change schools if their current situation isn’t what’s best for them. Everybody should have the freedom to do what they feel is best for them.

*** I’m not sure it is right to give someone both options simultaneously.

*** Here’s an off-the-wall idea.

Instead of making someone sit out of playing their first year after transferring, they have to sit out of profiting off of NIL their first year after transferring. There could be waivers granted in very specific situations, but otherwise, if you’re going to your second (or third or fourth or so on) school then you’ve got to wait one year to start profiting again.

I’m sure there are holes to any potential suggestion like that, but it is just an idea that could potentially slow the number of people transferring exclusively for NIL purposes.

We’re just spit-balling out here because that’s basically all any of us are doing now.

*** From a basketball standpoint, Iowa State has to figure out how it wants to handle the point guard spot. Temple transfer Jeremiah Williams cushions this blow some. How quickly will true freshman Tamin Lipsey be ready to carry some (or most) of that load?

Does Iowa State target a point guard in the portal? That remains to be seen, but it wouldn’t shock me.

The Cyclones’ puzzle just lost the biggest piece in the middle and figuring out how to fill that void will be a process.

*** I’m not sure what the answers to any of these issues are. I hate to say all of this is uncharted territory but a lot of this is uncharted territory.

Most of it will take years to truly play out to the point that we understand the repercussions. Just like it took years to understand the repercussions of all the years the NCAA dug its heels into the dirt and refused to make incremental changes that ultimately led us here.

Instead, it is the wild west and nobody is safe.

*** My last thought — enjoy the NBA playoffs this week. It is the best basketball money can buy.

Jared Stansbury


Jared a native of Clarinda, Iowa, started as the Cyclone Fanatic intern in August 2013, primarily working as a videographer until starting on the women’s basketball beat prior to the 2014-15 season. Upon earning his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from Iowa State in May 2016, Jared was hired as the site’s full-time staff writer, taking over as the primary day-to-day reporter on football and men’s basketball. He was elevated to the position of managing editor in January 2020. He is a regular contributor on 1460 KXNO in Des Moines and makes regular guest appearances on radio stations across the Midwest. Jared resides in Ankeny with his four-year-old puggle, Lolo.