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Navigating NIL For Admins

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Outside the Headlines: Areas We Can Improve

The founder of NIL Network, tapping into her experience as one of the first NIL admins in the country, shares three key issues impacting the NIL success of student-athletes and recommendations for administrators to consider.

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ATHLETE EDUCATION

CHALLENGE: In the last twenty years, information has become exponentially more accessible. Consequently, the ways we best learn have shifted dramatically, especially for younger generations. Nevertheless, the current industry standard for NIL education (e.g. prerecorded courses, lecture-based seminars) utilize the conventional approach to teaching. As a result, investments made by athletic departments in this area have been significantly underutilized.

CONSIDERATIONS: Gen Z is often characterized as being highly tech-savvy and comfortable with using digital tools and resources to learn. Therefore, NIL education that equips athletes with the skills and tools they need to take an active role in their learning, rather than simply receiving information, will be way more valuable.

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community support

CHALLENGE: Small businesses partnering with athletes from their local university for a marketing campaign makes a ton of sense. Although most student-athletes don't have massive platforms, the communities that they've built are highly engaged, hyper-localized, and heavily skewed towards the 18-24 age range, a demographic that is traditionally difficult for brands to reach authentically. However, there's a lot for them to understand - from the multiple sets of rules to how to reach athletes they want to work with - that has resulted in local businesses being slow to engage in NIL.

CONSIDERATIONS: Creating awareness and educating the local community should be a top priority in an athletic department's strategic plan for NIL. Without local businesses understanding why they'd engage in the NIL space and how to do it, opportunities for the majority of student-athletes will remain limited.

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nil messaging

CHALLENGE: A high percentage of current student-athletes are completely turned off to NIL. Which is fine - it's an opportunity, not a requirement. However, a lot of this can be attributed to the messaging surrounding NIL. The narrative has been hyper-fixated on transactions, "NIL Valuations", and the immediate monetary benefits - storylines that aren't a reality for 99% of college athletes.

CONSIDERATIONS: For most, NIL deals won't result in life-changing money. However, NIL has a lot of benefits beyond the transactions. Student-athletes are now gaining professional skills, building their network, and adding to their resume. They are spending time learning about themselves and what they stand for, are understanding the importance of controlling their narrative, and are managing their platforms with more professionalism and intentionality. Utilizing messaging that includes the long-term benefits of NIL will resonate much more for the majority of athletes.

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ADDITIONAL ADMIN ARTICLES
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NIL Verified™ is increasing transparency in the NIL industry.
As student-athletes navigate the NIL landscape, it has become increasingly important for them to be able to differentiate between trustworthy service providers and those that seek to exploit the lack of regulation in the field. The NIL Verified Network is a group of service providers dedicated to ensuring transparency, honesty, and fairness within the emerging NIL industry.

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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