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Why I Started NIL Network

by michelle
Why I Started NIL Network

Let me start by saying there’s no glitz or glam to my story: I am just a former D1 athlete and coach. I am not a marketing agent or brand consultant. I’m not a lawyer. I haven’t developed any fancy technology. And I did not anticipate being here, in June of 2021, with NCAA Name, Image, and Likeness reform consuming my life. But I didn’t know it would be THIS crazy. Or THIS confusing. But what started as a passion project has evolved into a strong desire to help alleviate some of the chaos. To help those who may be targets for exploitation get the information they need. To share the micro details, the whispered concerns, and to help this transition be as smooth as possible for as many people as I can help. 

Here’s My NIL Network Story:

As a former NCAA D1 athlete, coach, and program administrator in the college space over the past 15 years, I was incredibly excited yet speculative when California passed SB206 in the fall of 2019. I knew that NIL would come to the forefront eventually in collegiate athletics, but I never imagined it coming from a state passing their own NIL bill, essentially standing up to the NCAA and saying that enough is enough. I spent a lot of time in late 2019 reading as much as I could and researching the history of the NCAA to understand the complexities of the NIL issue and hypothesize about ways it may change college sports. And then, 2020 happened. 

What was then my favorite topic to ruminate over got buried by COVID, civil unrest, the election, and trying to keep my Beach Volleyball Consulting business afloat. However, around November, I started to see NIL news again. The NCAA was finally voting on NIL reform in January! This was coming soon and somehow, me, the person who was so awestruck with this change only a year before, completely missed it. That’s when I thought, who else has been distracted? 2020 was a tough, crazy year but time still moves forward… And deadlines get closer.

That’s when I decided to create NIL Network as a hub of all information NIL. I wanted to share as much information as I could find about NIL as they developed. I wanted to share the good, the bad, the opinions, the research… Anything that could bring to life the monumental shift that’s going to happen over the next few years. Anything that could bring more awareness to the vulnerable collegiate athletes, their coaches, and their staff. And I was captivated by NIL once again. I couldn’t believe how much was out there and how little everyone seemed to know about it. Dozens of people started reaching out to me. We’d have exciting conversations and projections for what the future may hold. I started thinking: I have a real opportunity to contribute positively to this space. There is so much going on and a definite need for information, education, and advice on navigating this new era of collegiate sports. Furthermore, my experiences working in and around the college space for my entire career give me a unique and relatable perspective.

Since I realized this, I’ve felt a sense of responsibility and I’ve been all in. And I’ve been BUSY: 

  • I’ve read every article on NIL since January 1.
  • I’ve spoken to over 30 NIL company founders (Still working to connect with the other 100+ on my list!)
  • I’ve researched all the University and NIL partnerships (Over 80% of the Power 5 have already partnered!)
  • I’ve listened to every podcast on NIL (You can listen to me on one HERE)
  • I’ve attended every available NIL webinar (This one is a MUST listen).

I’m here because I want to share all of what I’ve learned with you. I want to be that someone in your corner with no agenda but to share information as I come across it. To tell you what I see, what the projections are from various experts, and work with you on a plan of attack to give your athletes the best resources and up-to-date information to successfully navigate Name, Image, and Likeness.