The Supreme Court unanimously decided last week that student-athletes could receive education-related payments. The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) is the nonprofit organization that regulates student athletes from up to 1,268 North American institutions and conferences, governing potentially 460,000 college athletes. Its NCAA Division I NCAA Division I quickly announced a rule change accordingly. Starting Thursday, college athletes could profit off their own names, images and likenesses without violating NCAA rules, until federal legislation or new NCAA rules are adopted.
Experts opined that they did not think self-promotion by college kids was going to amount to much. Not waiting around to find out, college athletes jumped into the self-marketing game with enthusiasm. What has followed in just five days has been a rush of creative and varied ways college athletes in all sports are now marketing their own NIL, enough to put marketing experts on notice, there's a new promotional game in town, literally.
Of course, there are some rules. Players are still not allowed to profit off the outcomes of athletic contests in which they participate.
Having been casually active on their own social media platforms since high school and even middle school, college athletes have begun leveraging their followers on Tik Tok, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms, to announce their endorsements deals, personal appearances, and merchandise. For some, with millions of followers, the estimated values on their social media accounts is between $330-$500 million. Marketing 2021: The new age of self-promotion is here, and some are even establishing their own media companies to help themselves and other young athletes do it.
While the biggest deals are likely still being inked, a few examples of new deals already announced included:
Fresno State college basketball twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder, who have more than 3.3 million followers on Tik Tok, announced endorsement deals with Boost Mobile and Six Star Nutrition.
Lexi Sun, an All-American volleyball player at the University of Nebraska, announced her own apparel line on Thursday in an Instagram post. "The Sunny Crew" sweatshirt is the first piece on display of the Lexi Sun x REN Athletics line.
Brothers Trey and Bryce McGowens, who play basketball for the University of Nebraska, launched a podcast, "Off Court," which is sponsored by a tavern and bar in Lincoln, Nebraska.
University of Miami quarterback D'Eriq King and announced on Twitter Thursday that he and Florida State quarterback McKenzie Milton are the co-founders on the NIL platform Dreamfield, which focuses on booking live events for student athletes. King also announced three other deals, including one in which he and teammate Bubba Bolden were signing an endorsement deal with College Hunks Hauling Junk.
University of Iowa basketball player Jordan Bohannon announced he is launching an apparel deal, and made a sponsorship appearance with Boomin Iowa Fireworks for a meet-and-greet over the weekend.
Auburn University quarterback Bo Nix announced he has a deal with a southern sweet tea company called Milo's.
NCAA's new rule says that in states without NIL laws, athletes will be able to freely engage in NIL activities, making money off everything from signing autographs, auctioning signed merchandize, and entering into endorsement deals. Schools and conferences in those states "may choose to adopt their own policies." In states that already had NIL laws, including Alabama, Florida and Georgia, NCAA's new rules states that college athletes may engage in NIL activities that are "consistent with the laws of the state where the school is located."
College sports raise billions of dollars from ticket sales, television contracts and merchandise, often using the NIL of student athletes.
In 2016, NCAA negotiated a $1.1 billion a year deal to extend their March Madness broadcasting rights for the next 8 years.
States and schools have already begun issuing their own policies on student NIL.
Suddenly allowed to profit from their name, image and likeness (or NIL), college athletes are unleashing a barrage of endorsement deal announcements. [T]he profit-making has already begun as they take to social media to announce the different types of deals they have signed.