Cormani McClain got me thinking . . .

Assuming Coase was right, in the NIL/transfer portal era, isn't the distribution of player talent always Pareto optimal? That is, under the assumption of sufficiently low transactions costs, and where every team is free to bid up to the perceived marginal value of the player and every player is free to go wherever he chooses without penalty, isn't the distribution of talent - whatever it is - optimal from everyone's individual perspectives?

I ask because, in the wake of "losing" Cormani McClain to Miami, I've seen several Gators fans make some version of the argument that the NCAA must regulate NIL in the service of - I don't know, actually - fairness, I guess? (Whatever that means.) But if you start from the assumption that talent should be distributed efficiently, I'm not sure any regulation would be an improvement over the status quo. Under the current rules - in practice, laissez faire - every team assigns a value to a player and bids up to that value. The highest bidder wins, and so the talent distribution is merely the sum of the individual preferences of every actor. What alternative would yield an obviously better outcome?

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