By Joshua Frieser, Frieser Legal
Since July 1st, 2021, NCAA student-athletes have been able to utilize their name, image, and likeness (NIL) and capitalize on their athletic ability by hosting camps and providing lessons. While the majority of college athlete NIL activity has included sponsored social media posting, camps and lessons are an excellent way for student-athletes to monetize their NIL and athletic skill. As college athletes transition to off-seasons, school breaks, and summer, they will have more time to host camps and give lessons, both in the locale of their university or back at home. While hosting a camp can be a very profitable endeavor, student-athletes will have several legal considerations before doing so.
The Location of the Camp or Lessons
The first thing a student-athlete should consider is the location of their camp or lessons. Depending on their sport, it will be at a gym, a public court or field, or a private facility. Here are some examples of where student-athletes could host a camp: a basketball student-athlete could utilize a local high school gym; a golf student-athlete could use the driving range at a municipal golf course; and a baseball or softball student-athlete could use a private training center with batting cages and pitching mounds. The options for an appropriate venue depend largely on the sport. Contacting all of the potential facilities to get more information and a quote is a good place to start. After finding a good location to host the camp, make sure to sign a contract with the venue that includes the cost for the venue, as well as the date, time, and details of the event. Other negotiated details should also be included.
What Equipment is Needed
The equipment needed also depends largely on the sport. It is possible that the facility you are using may have appropriate equipment like basketballs or footballs. When contacting potential facilities, ask about the equipment they may also be able to provide. If a basketball student-athlete is hosting a camp at a local high school gym, the facility might also be able to include basketballs as part of the facility rental.
In addition to balls, bats, sticks, gloves and other equipment that may be needed, consider the need for cones, markers, goals, nets, and pinnies. You may also want to provide participants with a t-shirt with the name of the camp on it—that is another great way to build your brand. If you are renting equipment from a local provider, make sure to sign a contract with the details of the transaction.
Student-athletes have been able to bring in thousands and in some cases millions of dollars through NIL deals. Without appropriate liability planning, personal assets and income could be at stake if a camp participant were to suffer a serious injury. While there is always inherent risk involved in any sports activity, student-athletes should work to limit the risk of injury and limit the risk of liability. Limiting the risk of injury to participants includes making sure that the facility and equipment are safe and adequate. College student-athletes can limit their risk of liability (should a participant get injured) by taking the following steps:
(1) Creating an LLC
Creating an LLC, a limited liability company, can help to shield personal assets (and NIL income) from a lawsuit. With a limited liability entity, the limit of a lawsuit judgment is up to the amount of money invested in the business, or the total assets of the LLC. Personal assets and assets from other business ventures will not be at stake. While many student-athletes have created an LLC for their intellectual property and NIL ventures, it would be smart to create a separate limited liability entity for hosting camps and lessons. That way, if an accident were to happen during the course of a camp or lessons, the student-athlete’s NIL income and intellectual property value would not be at stake.
(2) Liability Waivers
In addition to creating a limited liability entity, liability waivers are necessary for any event where participants may have some risk of getting injured. A strong liability waiver can inform participants of the risks and protect student-athletes from any lawsuits arising from any injury that may occur.
Cost for Participants and Collecting Fees
The cost for participants will largely depend on the sport, the market, and the number of participants. For one-on-one, private lessons, a participant will pay more per hour than for a camp with 100 attendees. Additionally, the notability of the student-athlete running the camp can also influence the cost, much like with NIL.
College athletes hosting camps can collect fees in cash, check, Venmo, Square, PayPal, or through any other payment site. Most of these platforms will take a percentage or charge a small fee for usage. Make sure to set up an account through your LLC. Lastly, do not forget that the income you receive from hosting a camp will be subject to taxation.
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Meet the Expert Contributor
Joshua M. Frieser, Esq. is a college athlete lawyer and Principal Attorney at Frieser Legal. His practice is focused on the representation of NCAA student-athletes and working to solve their unique legal needs. Josh represents college athletes in formal NCAA regulatory proceedings and in Name, Image and Likeness licensing agreements, as well as in related intellectual property and business planning matters.