If you follow college sports at all, it’s likely you have heard about Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) that is all the buzz in the athletic world. Beginning today, legislation in several key states goes into effect, allowing athletes to benefit from their likeness. It creates a whole new world in the NCAA where the definition of amateur and ability to profit from playing collegiate sports has just gotten very fuzzy.

NIL policies open the door for athletes to capitalize on their fame or reputation. As a result of the new rules, a host of matching services have been created to connect potential endorsements and to match players with opportunities. Colleges have also gotten involved and are offering comprehensive programs to help students not only with compliance but with personal branding and educational programming. For example, at the University of Iowa, all student-athletes will have training in the areas of “branding, social media, entrepreneurship, networking, financing, and fair market and social strategy evaluations for each student athletes’ personal social media profiles.” (All this — on top of the actual practice and competition — and, oh yeah, taking a few classes here and there.)

But pay attention to the athletes that are sure to be popping up in endorsement deals and consider whether your NIL could play a similar role for your organization. You may not come to the table with the fame of a Power 5 quarterback but thinking like one and establishing a personal brand may create more opportunities than you are considering now.

Source: Iowa announces new NIL program, ‘FLIGHT’, in the Telegraph Herald, June 26, 2021, p. 2B

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