On NIL

What name, image and likeness means for the future of college sports

On Wednesday, the NCAA announced an interim policy that allows student athletes from all three divisions to monetize their name, image and likeness, often referred to as NIL.

The new policy goes into effect today, July 1, 2021.

Laws in states such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas that allow NCAA athletes to monetize their NIL will also take effect this year. 

However, because there is still no federal law, the new NCAA guidance allows students to engage in NIL activities so long as they are “consistent with the law of the state where the school is located” and allows students in states without NIL laws to participate without breaking NCAA rules.

My quick and early thoughts on NIL as it is now official.

The first place my mind runs to is managing all of these new opportunities. How can these student-athletes go to school, play a sport and manage their brand all at a very high level?

Things to think about:

  • Brand building

  • Content creation

  • Networking

  • Engagement

  • Accounting/Taxes

  • Contracts/Lawyers

Every entrepreneur in the world understands these things, but does an 18-year old student-athlete?

Yes, they’ll have to learn. Yes, they’ll make mistakes. Yes, they’ll get taken advantage of. But I think that only happens for a little while.

We’ll see new media agencies pop up that offer the whole gamut, soup-to-nuts, one-stop-shop for athletes to hone their brand.

I’d love to see Universities hire these types of agencies, at their own expense, to benefit their own student-athletes. Maybe that’s a pipe dream, but it would be a boon to recruiting for sports. The University that turns out the most “brandable”players will earn the recruits.

More recruits equal more on-field success. More on field success breeds more broadcast and sponsorship for the University. More broadcast and sponsorship boosts enrollment. More enrollment means more money. It’s a win-win.

Looks like Oklahoma is already doing this with INFLNCR. This gives their student-athletes and new recruits a leg up.

A few other things student-athlete-brands now need to think about is: what do I want to be known for?

Being selective with brand partnerships and sponsors is imperative.

The big name athletes will get the national brands because they have a national brand. But the 3rd string long snapper, who may be a campus favorite, may have to rely on local sponsors.

And that’s ok! There’s plenty of money in it.

Here’s a teaser of a spot we did with a Central Ohio brand and former Ohio State QB, Braxton Miller (after he was out of college, of course).

Braxton spent a few hours with the sponsor, and one of their clients, and got the treatment of a Hollywood celeb. It was really cool to watch for both the client and for Braxton to see how loved he was by the Central Ohio faithful.

This is the type of opportunity I would think is available to a good percentage of the athletes on college teams.

For the athletes in sports that aren’t basketball or football (or any major sport), there are other opportunities as well, like Cameo or social posting for a fee. It may not be thousands at a pop, but it’s something, anything, more than what they’ve had the chance in the past.

Because of NIL and how new this is, I’m going to add a section to each newsletter called Athlete Influential, and highlight deals that come across my desk. But I won’t be able to nail down each one, so I need your help.

Be sure to tag me @vincenzolandino on Twitter or @thevincenzolandino on IG if you come across a deal, local or national.

Here’s a few I’ve seen today:

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