College sports is in the middle of its most significant change of all time. A mixture of new state laws and NCAA rules changes that went into effect on July 1st have given athletes the opportunity, with varying degrees of new protections and opportunities to make money by selling their name, image and likeness (NIL) rights. In the past, athletes who received any type of compensation would jeopardize their individual and team's eligibility. The most notable example is Reggie Bush, who received money and ended up losing his Heismen and causing USC to not be eligible to compete for several years.
While athletes start to strike deals this summer, questions remain about the implications of a major shift in the rules around amateurism. Who will shape the large gray areas produced by the novel, loose guidelines. Ultimately, how will this actually benefit all athletes? Lebron James’ incredible HBO documentary “Student Athlete” highlighted several student athletes who couldn’t afford rent, food, or school supplies and were barely able to live for a chance to attend college. In some cases these student athletes were living in their cars and going days without eating. Will NIL help student athletes like these, or will it only benefit the few elite players from each school?
The first month of this new NIL rights have provided a glimpse at the wide range of possibilities that now exist for athletes, and there are already major concerns around the NCAA's futile efforts to keep money and boosters from attempting to influence a program's recruiting prowess.
Social media stars and big-name quarterbacks were among the first to cash in on their new ability to sign endorsement deals. Some athletes collected at least tens of thousands of dollars in the first days of July. Now debates are happening to discuss what to do with athletes who were affected by NIL in the past? For example, should Reggie Bush get his Heismen back?
Ultimately, we believe this is a major step forward for college athletes as the university benefits immensely from their athletes. Time will tell if this will benefit all athletes or just a handful.
Speaking of Nil, we recently worked with Brycen Tremayne, the starting WR for Stanford Football. He is passionate about sustainability and he is a big advocate of what we're doing at Opok. Check out a snippet of his interview here.
Brycen loves his Opok shirts and says "they are perfect for working out, yoga, or lounging in his dorm."