I remember my first night as a student at Binghamton University. I walked around the campus after smoking a bit in the woods, taking it all in. At that point, I had my whole college experience in front of me, and I told myself to embrace that moment because there would soon be a time where I was walking the campus with it all behind me. Now that moment has come. I wondered what would change about the world and myself in my four years at BU. I remember thinking about what future Kiernan would say, and if I would take advantage of the brief four years I had here at BU. Like everything in life, the answer is not black and white. I did things and made friends that I will keep with me forever. I went out and I wrote for Pipe Dream, but I also spent too many nights alone on my phone, forgetting that there’s so much to do here at BU.

I was a cocky freshman, but my first semester at BU humbled me. It taught me how to study and be a college student. I obviously could not have foreseen the COVID-19 pandemic completely flipping my college experience on its head. Ultimately, we will all be remembered as the COVID-19 college kids. I will always be proud of my growth at BU, and I am especially proud that many of the people I befriended as a freshman grew into progressive leaders on campus. Being part of Students for Justice in Palestine will always be another thing I’m proud of. But frankly, I don’t want to spend this entire column talking about myself, because I am not that important in the grand scheme of things.

I would like to talk about how college athletics have changed in the four years I have been here. They obviously have changed drastically with the news that college athletes can now use their name, image and likeness (NIL) to make money. Right now, I don’t think that the athletes and students at BU seem to realize the opportunities they have. Many of the local businesses in Binghamton advertise at school games hoping to get college kids and supporters of the team to see these. But you know what would be much more effective for getting college kids to see their product? If the whole basketball or volleyball team put an ad on their story or made a post — teams should negotiate with local businesses on social media advertising. Teams could even set up deals if they wanted. The teams and athletes could even all agree to advertise the same places. The argument before was always that only the best and most popular athletes would be able to make money. However, with social media advertising, it doesn’t matter how many people come to your games or how good of a player you are. It matters how many people see what you post. There are agencies already set up to help athletes manage NILs, like NOCAP sports, and they are well worth looking into. In conclusion, college athletes now have an opportunity that athletes my freshman year wish they had, and they should take advantage of that.

For the remainder of this senior column I am going to discuss stupid things that I never got to write about during my time at Pipe Dream, like my idea for a new basketball league with crazy rules. In this league, if you missed a free throw it would lose your team a point, there would be a five point line at around half-court, a block would gain your team a point and a dunk would be worth three points, while a blocked dunk would be two points. Wouldn’t that be crazy?! Imagine a blocked dunk at the end of a tie game winning the game for a team on defense. Maybe someday I will create this league, or maybe I will not. Who cares.

Kiernan Fischer is a senior majoring in political science and is a sports contributor.