The race for the NIL’s gun is on as faculty soccer packages embrace actuality
The side business has been around since the devil took a break from pitchforking to sell some products in Eden, but one of the things I don’t think people of my generation and older really appreciate is how it is embedded in today’s youth. Online marketplaces these days are much more detailed than “Fifty searches on Amazon to find a XXXL crop top that says” COOL BEANS “on the back.” The crop top has already been made by any number of retail sellers on any number of boutique websites and resold as vintage by individual sellers on any number of thrift websites, and you’re just not cool enough to get it Find.
The point is, anyone under the age of 25 has a personal sideline, whether it’s selling Coke cans at school or starting a shoe cleaning business or writing skull sessions for a midsize sports news site in Ohio, and I think that’s a kickass. Young people are so much harder than they think they are, and it is high time college athletes were given the opportunity to partake in the economy their peers have been grappling with for years.
But you have to be careful.
This is not a paternalistic warning, “Aw gee buddy, you might not blow your life savings on Dogecoin and GameStop stocks” (although yes, you don’t do those things). Rather, it is an affirmation that the more likely college athletes (and recruits especially) are more likely to be monetized by name, image, and likeness, should be wary of the bill of materials they are selling. Or more precisely, how they are told they can sell their goods and what kind of invoice they might incur along the way.
I have to put an effort into some of these schools that are investing in the weapon against the NIL. We’ve covered some of the things that Ohio soccer is doing to attract recruits to Buckeye state, but a lot of it equates to a wink, “Oh, you’ll see!” Kind of message with emoji eyes looking at stats about TV markets and social media interactions. Which is fine I guess, but also a couple of laps behind Alabama, which just made this clear:
Introduce the advantage
A comprehensive program that provides Crimson Tide athletes with the training and tools needed to build and grow their personal brands
– Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) May 4, 2021
THE BENEFIT (which I’ll put in all of the caps because all of the caps mean money) doesn’t mind the idea that the University of Alabama is going to put money in your pocket by helping you build your own personal brand of cool shit. As a side note, I hope a five star quarterback becomes obsessed with growing soybeans or something and the Crimson Tide are forced to tweets with Monsanto memes. Anyway, from RollTide.com:
Alabama Athletics, one of the most recognized and influential brands in all sports, has developed The Advantage, a comprehensive program that provides Crimson Tide athletes with the training and tools needed to build and grow their personal brands.
Working with campus partners and external agencies, The Advantage focuses on brand management, maximizing personal social media platforms and financial literacy.
And again I think it’s all pretty cute. Good for Bama because they can both read the writing on the wall regarding NIL and then use it to improve their exercise programs. Adding a component to financial literacy is also a great idea for anyone, but especially young people who are making independent money for the first time in their lives. The state of Ohio will soon follow suit, because they have to, and hopefully for student athletes too.
Hopefully I say so because while universities are moving fast to take advantage of this new reality, other forces are working just as quickly to position themselves favorably as well. Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed a bill yesterday to allow college athletes in his state to make cute, cute NIL money, a move other states have taken, but …
Has anyone else read the Georgia # NIL bill? GA schools can require athletes to put up to 74.99% of their NIL income into a fund so that all athletes are paid out upon graduation / drop-out. SCHOOLS should set up such a fund with proceeds from their million dollar contracts. Pic.twitter.com/Sbzw1uzadK
– Maddie Salamone (@ madsal15) May 5, 2021
From Nick Bromberg at yahoo! Sports.com:
How would this provision work? If the University of Georgia decided to implement the provision and use 70% of each athlete’s endorsement to redistribute, a player like JT Daniels would only make $ 30,000 with a $ 100,000 endorsement agreement.
Bromberg rightly points out that it is in the air whether a school actually chooses it or not, as doing so would put them at a recruitment disadvantage versus any school that doesn’t, but the bigger point is that it does There’s still a significant setback to the details of giving college athletes the opportunity to benefit from the same system that is generating hundreds of millions of dollars in places like the state of Ohio.
As unlikely as the University of Georgia (or anywhere else) would attempt to pocket the vast majority of an endorsement paycheck, the mechanism serves as a means to gain either punitive or preventative control over players’ finances . College athletes need to be aware that while NIL offers them some fantastic opportunities, they must embrace those opportunities in a system that does not entrust them with the money some of them will make. As enthusiastic as Alabama or Ohio State may be, it’s incredibly important that they understand the fine print that will go with that excitement.
There is also a fast emerging industry that is supposed to take advantage of the new NIL laws and sell their services to schools and athletes to strengthen their brand. This new industry could be as seedy as the ones that are already there to do the exact same thing, and being “overboard” isn’t necessarily going to stop companies from taking advantage of young people (and hell might even exacerbate it).
So what is needed is federal NIL law to avoid the phased approach that states have taken so far. As recruitment has become increasingly national, it is important that athletes are protected from disinformation, misinformation and abuse, and hopefully a national standard will help make this easier.
Time is running out. The state’s NIL laws will come into effect this summer, making it one of the most chaotic periods in college sports since its inception. It should be fun as hell and scary as hell.