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Coaching in the NIL Era: Leadership

by michelle
Published: Updated:

NIL & Your Team: How Can You Take a Leadership Role as a Coach?

As a former D1 coach, I can imagine that NIL feels like another thing piled on your already full plate. Throw in the chaotic and wild-west-like space that the last few months has been, and you may be tempted to just throw up your hands or look the other way. However, NIL is here to stay. And I’m a firm believer that coaches who take a leadership role and are early adopters of NIL will have more success in this new era. 

Recently, I’ve done webinars for the memberships of a few coaching associations (American Volleyball Coaches Association, United Soccer Coaches) and the same questions continue to come up: How can I help my athletes? How do I address NIL with my team? What are some important topics to make my athletes aware of? What are my limitations?

Based on those conversations, I wanted to share four simple recommendations to help you navigate NIL with your team this fall:

REVIEW & UPDATE YOUR TEAM RULES/GUIDELINES: Is there a requirement that your athletes keep their social media accounts private? What does it say about creating content and/or being on social media during team activities? I’d recommend adding a section that specifically addresses NIL activity.

MEET WITH YOUR CAPTAINS: How are they feeling about NIL? Do they have concerns that it will be disruptive for the team? I’d recommend going over your updates to the team rules/guidelines and getting their feedback.

GET TO KNOW NIL COMPANIES: Knowing the NIL companies that may be working directly with your athletes will help you understand how your athletes are monetizing their NIL. A good starting place is to check out the Digital Marketplaces as that’s projected to be how most deals are done. 

OPEN COMMUNICATION LINES: Schedule a meeting to talk to your team about NIL. Make sure your athletes know that while you can provide educational resources, you (most likely, dependent on your institution) can’t give advice on deals, companies, or contracts. Even though your athletes have no reporting duties to you, showing your support for NIL will help them feel more comfortable discussing their opportunities with you and will put you in a more informed position which is a win for you AND your athletes.

Hope this helps as your athletes return to campus for another fun year!

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