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December 2022

    The Development of the Nascent Name, Image, and Likeness Industry A Brief History, Current Issues, And Where We’re Headed (this is Part 3 of a 4-part series examining the lead up to NIL policy reform, emerging trends and issues over the past year, where this is headed, and how NIL Network can help)Part 1: Creating The Perfect StormPart 2: The Chaotic Rollout Of NIL ReformPart 3: First Year And The Ugly Realities Outside The HeadlinesPart 4: The Current Predicament: Cutting Through The Noise By Michelle Meyer FOUNDER, NIL NETWORK Part 3: The First Year of NIL & The Ugly Reality In my first year as an NIL Administrator, I’ve seen my fears of this new industry come true: There are bad actors in the space that are unapologetically taking advantage of every college athlete they can sign.I’ve had way too many wide-eyed, excited young athletes bounce into my office to tell me about how “X agency reached out on Instagram and wants to represent ME and they said they’re going to get me soooo many NIL deals!” only to watch the smile leave their face as I educate them on VERY BASIC elements of fair contracts and ask to locate them in the contract they were given. These basics, such as a clause outlining how to end the contract should it not go well, have been completely missing from a high percentage of NIL agreements. It’s scary.And the best I can do is educate and hope they understand how serious I am when I recommend they get a trusted friend or family member, preferably someone with a legal background, to properly vet the contract for them. As an athletic department employee, my support is limited to education. I can’t vet a contract for an athlete (nor would I, I’m not an attorney) and I can’t tell them if an opportunity is a good deal. What is likely the most consequential part of an NIL partnership, the negotiation of terms, NIL admins have to be hands-off. However, the damning part is that many of these young adults don’t actually have anyone else to turn to. They can’t afford to hire legal representation. They don’t have an attorney friend or family member in their corner.It gets increasingly bleak and disheartening when you look at the support around the country. In the first year, there are only around 30 athletic departments (out of 350 NCAA D1 programs) that have hired a person dedicated to NIL. While I’ll be the first to put my hand up and say that I’m limited in the support I can offer, at the very least, I’m someone they trust and can seek out for guidance. What are athletes doing at schools without someone to turn to? How are they vetting these “NIL Agents” that want to represent them? What is their process when they’re given a contract to sign?As Kristi Dosh noted from speaking to athletes at the first NIL summit, many reported attempting to vet their own contracts. Now, …