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Navigate NIL for Coaches

    Over the past two months, I’ve presented NIL at four coaching conventions. I gave talks to women’s lacrosse coaches in Dallas, track & field coaches in Orlando, volleyball coaches in Columbus, and finally, soccer coaches in Kansas City. While this was my first time presenting, I’m no stranger to coaching conferences – I’ve attended the AVCA convention since I began coaching volleyball at the University of Hawaii in 2012. However, it was interesting attending these conventions no longer as a coach, but as a guest presenter. Add on top, being a guest presenter in a topic that is not only brand new, but is (as I found out) somewhat controversial in the coaching community.Here are my learnings: The Good, The OK, and The Unacceptable.The GoodThose Who Attend Are Very EngagedAt all four of my presentations, attendance was low. It makes sense: NIL, NIL Network, and myself as a presenter are all new to coaching conferences. Coaches typically attend their annual conference to learn from their mentors, build their network, and reconnect with their friends. They don’t go to listen to a person they’ve never heard of talk about a subject that they don’t think impacts them or their sport.However, the coaches who attended were very curious. They asked great questions, stayed after to chat, and seemed to see NIL as a positive and an opportunity. Similar to my approach with the athletes at SDSU, I want to ensure the early adopters are successful and empowered. I’ve done follow up 1-on-1 meetings with around a dozen coaches that attended my session. Each call has been unique but the theme is the same: These coaches understand that NIL is not going anywhere and that it’s time to adapt.Interest At The High School LevelWith the exception of the IWLCA which is specific to college, all of the conferences are attended by high school and club coaches, college coaches, and even professional and international coaches. At each conference, I had club coaches ask how they can help their athletes prepare for NIL, what kind of questions they should be asking during the recruiting process, and recommendations of educational resources they can point their athletes to. This brings me joy. Why? Because one of the most common excuses that Olympic sport coaches give to justify not embracing NIL is that “my athletes just aren’t interested.” My rebuttal is “you MAY be correct with your current roster (MAY because I don’t actually think they’re correct but that’s a different conversation), but your future roster is watching, learning, and preparing.” Coaches who can confidently discuss NIL when asked will demonstrate to recruits that they care more about their athletes than just athletic performance. Side note: Top volleyball clubs from around the country have started reaching out to me to educate their athletes on prepping their NIL. In time, I think the clubs that are focused on developing D1 athletes will add NIL education to their “off the court” resources, similar to how they provide tools to help with the recruiting process.  The …

  • Utilizing NIL to Optimize Your Recruiting Pitch Previously, I shared some questions from my webinars with the coaches of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) and United Soccer Coaches around …

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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