Beginning July 1, student-athletes are permitted to earn compensation for their name, image or likeness. The link below provides helpful information for student-athletes, supporters of Alabama Athletics and employees of The University of Alabama about NIL.
— Alabama Athletics (@UA_Athletics) June 29, 2021
And just like that, the worlds of branding, marketing and amateur athletics are completely changed.
Starting today in multiple states, college athletes can make money off their Name, Image and Likeness. These NIL laws that go into effect in states across the country today will forever change college athletics, as well as branding and marketing.
Very soon, every college athlete will be a potential influencer that brands can work with. Think about that for a minute, I saw an interview with a sports marketing firm that said overnight the number of marketable athletes who can earn endorsement dollars will go from 5,000 to 500,000.
To say this is a massive sea-change in the worlds of branding and influencer marketing is a massive understatement.
I got an email from the University of Alabama yesterday that gives some guidance on what these new NIL laws mean for fans. Here’s a portion of that email:
May a booster or fan enter into an agreement with a University of Alabama (“UA”) student-athlete (“SA”) for the use of the SA’s name, image, or likeness (“NIL”) in exchange for money, goods or services? Yes, subject to the restrictions imposed by Alabama law (PDF). Before entering such a contract, the SA is required to disclose any proposed contract for use of their NIL to UA. It is possible, and likely, that federal laws and NCAA legislation will ultimately provide a nationwide, uniform approach to NIL governance, at which point restrictions on these agreements are subject to change.
Alabama has a page set up with more information on NIL here. In short, athletes can make money off their name, image and likeness. But any agreement cannot be dependent on athletic performance (such as you earn X number of dollars for every touchdown you score) and the school cannot work with the SA to help facilitate deals. The school can educate SAs on the process. The student athlete cannot tie deals to their involvement in university events and can’t wear the logos of their school without permission.
My friend Kristi Dosh has been all over this story for months. She has a great post on how most student athletes will now be facing many of the same compensation questions that bloggers and content creators have wrestled with for years now.
What Will Change as a Result of NIL Laws?
J3O apparel. Coming July 1st. pic.twitter.com/X1kdrjTdDn
— Jordan Bohannon (@JordanBo_3) June 25, 2021
Now you suddenly have up to a million new influencers on the market, and they will be doing a lot of experimenting with monetizing their images. It’s honestly going to be a fun time for marketing geeks, as we get to see the creative ways in which these student athletes monetize their images and brands. As for those of us who will be lucky enough to guide and work with these student athletes and help them with their efforts.
But make no mistake, the world of college athletes as we know it will never be the same. This. Changes. EVERYTHING. It will honestly be tough on these student athletes to manage everything. And it will likely raise issues; what if the star quarterback decides to show up late for practice because he was shooting a commercial with the local auto dealership? What if the star running back wants to sit out the second half of blowouts in order to stay healthy for more endorsement deals? It’s going to create a lot of issues that casual fans won’t fully appreciate, or approve of.
The bottom line is this is the beginning of the end of amateur athletics.
But it’s also going to be insanely exciting to see what happens next. These student athletes are ridiculously savvy when it comes to social media and content creation. Many of them have already built engaged communities on Twitter, Instagram and other social sites. Those networks can now be monetized for the first time, and I for one am looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
If you want to get all the latest information on NIL laws and to see where we have been and where we are going, check out Kristi’s site The Business of College Sports.