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    Michelle Meyer Placard

    What Do You Do?Two months ago, I began a new position at San Diego State as their NIL Coordinator. While I haven’t done a thorough audit of institutions recently, I believe that SDSU is the 4th or 5th athletic department in the country to hire an NIL specific position – meaning someone that has no other job obligations other than developing, coordinating, and executing an NIL program. With my background in D1 coaching, fascination with NIL, love of program development, and having already lived in the beautiful city of San Diego for three years, this position was a no brainer for me. The past two months have reinforced many of the challenges that I’ve noticed since July 1 and brought up a few new ones. However, my biggest takeaway remains the same: Transparency, sharing information, and empowering athletes (not to be confused with hand holding) is the key to a successful transition into the NIL era for all stakeholders. To get started, let’s go over the top FAQ: So… What Do You Do?With the NIL role being not only brand new at SDSU but also across the country, I constantly am getting asked this question. The best part about having a new position in a new industry? You get to write the job spec! As someone who has studied this industry exclusively for the past 14 months (and non-exclusively since California passed SB206 in the fall of 2019), I couldn’t have been more excited for the challenge. Athlete EducationMy top priority is ensuring SDSU athletes have the tools to successfully and safely navigate NIL opportunities. This includes 1-on-1 meetings, team chats, integrating NIL topics into the student-athlete development program, developing educational resources, and liaising with the university to develop a comprehensive curriculum that covers all aspects of NIL opportunities: The before, during, and after. In particular, I’ve noticed that there seems to be one important aspect of education that has been overlooked: Given that posting content currently accounts for 82.5% of NIL activity, what are the actual steps for an athlete to secure an endorsement deal? Aside from building their brand, optimizing their social media, and knowing the various laws and policies, how do they find opportunities? Should they navigate this themselves or utilize a third party to assist them? I am definitely an advocate of utilizing a third party – whether a digital marketplace or a management agency – to get started. A third party can help an athlete understand the process, the market, and the expectations. Most will also vet contracts to ensure compliance with NCAA, state, and institutional policies and protect athletes from getting taken advantage of by brands (remember, brands are looking for the best ROI; aka they want to give the least to get the most!). However, given that there are over 80 digital marketplaces currently catering to collegiate athletes, how in the world does an athlete decipher between them? They certainly aren’t going to make 80 profiles and then be able to check them all regularly for new opportunities.  This …

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