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January 2023

    The NCAA’s reform of Name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights is the biggest change to college sports since Title 9. Now that college athletes to profit off their own fame, many student-athletes are wondering how they can monetize their personal brand and take advantage of their new NIL opportunities.In this guide, we’ll explore the different types of NIL deals available to college athletes, as well as the legal considerations and potential earning power associated with NIL rights. We’ll also discuss the importance of building a strong personal brand and setting realistic expectations when it comes to monetizing your name, image, and likeness.Understanding Name, Image, and Likeness RightsName, image, and likeness rights refer to the ability of an individual to control and profit from the use of their name, image, and likeness in various forms of media, including advertising, merchandise, and video games. These rights have historically been associated with professional athletes and celebrities, but now college athletes also are able to monetize their NIL rights.The NCAA had long prohibited college athletes from profiting off their own fame, but that changed on July 1, 2021 when the NCAA updated Bylaw 12.The Factors that Caused Name, Image, and Likeness ReformThere are three overarching factors that led to NIL rights for college athletes.DEVELOPMENT OF GIG ECONOMY: The gig economy, where individuals are their own bosses, has changed the landscape for the typical “college job”. Now, college students can use platforms to easily pursue entrepreneurship and profit off their unique abilities. Before NIL reform, college athletes would need a waiver from the NCAA to participate in the gig economy while the rest of their non-athlete peers had no restrictions. And college athletes are proving to be quite talented outside their sport! For example, Wisconsin volleyball athlete, Danielle Hart, manages her online store and sells beautiful art.RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA: Social media has changed every facet of society, including how businesses and brands advertise. Now, brands budget significant marketing dollars towards partnering with individuals with a large following to promote their products or services. This industry, “influencer marketing”, has grown from $3 billion to $16.4 billion in the last five years. College athletes, especially in revenue generating sports, can have massive platforms with highly engaged audiences. Before name, image, and likeness rights, monetizing their social media accounts would’ve deemed them ineligible to compete in the NCAA.NCAA LAWSUITS: Over the past decade, there have been a number of high profile cases brought by athletes against the NCAA. The biggest one, O’Bannon vs NCAA, significantly increased awareness of the NCAA’s injustices. When that case was settled in 2014, the general public started understanding not only the rights that athletes have to waive to compete in the NCAA, but also the significant and ever-increasing revenue that the NCAA brought in year after year.Types of Name, Image, and Likeness DealsThere are several different types of NIL deals that college athletes can explore. Some of the most common include:Sponsorships: Athletes can sign sponsorship deals with companies to promote their products …

As NIL grows rapidly and enters 2024 as a billion dollar industry, more brands are jumping in and reaping the benefits of college athletes promoting their products or services. Unfortunately, there is a misconception that only the biggest and most popular athletes can deliver campaign results. Here, College Athlete Influencers explores why that’s not the case and how brands can maximize their ROI through college athlete influencers.

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