NIL is a game changer for student-athletes

May 3, 2022

What’s all the NIL fuss about?

College and high school sports may never be the same. Student athletes are getting compensated in small and large ways from their name, image, and likeness (NIL). First, a quick history lesson:

  • Up until summer 2021, the NCAA restricted student athletes from earning money based on their individual reputation. This was a contentious issue, because schools were receiving huge financial rewards as a direct result of their players. 
  • July 1, 2021. NCAA changed its policy to allow student athletes to be compensated directly from their NIL. 
  • July 2, 2021 up until today. Hundreds of student athletes are pulling in all sorts of sponsorship and advertising deals. The rule change has even prompted high schools to encourage their students to take advantage of NIL opportunities.

Is NIL good or bad?

Five minutes on the internet will have you slogging through hundreds of reasons NIL is the best decision ever or the worst decision ever. Bottom line: NIL is good news for student athletes at any skill level because it rewards them for their individual contribution to the sport. 

NIL evens the playing field

From a numbers point of view, most athletes won’t be on national TV or instantly recognized when they’re at the grocery store. Some companies are looking for a level of celebrity status. But many just want to feature young, up-and-coming athletes from their hometown. 

Women’s athletics gets a chance to shine!

Masai Russell is not a household name, but she’s got about 20 different deals that earn her money. She’s doing things like promoting a certain brand’s vitamins, deals at Walgreens, and shows to watch on Hulu. According to Yahoo, the women’s basketball market is so hot that students could earn more than the average WNBA salary!

Backup players get to profit!

Bryce Young scored a deal with a marketing agency even though he had never started a game. He’s a backup quarterback who’s making close to a million dollars already.

Planning ahead for life beyond sports

Athletic careers are temporary, and there are many sad stories of athletes – even stars – who weren’t financially prepared for life beyond sports. NIL is a great way for student athletes at any skill level to earn and save money, even if the income is modest. Teaching camps and private lessons, appearing at a local event, promoting an apparel line on social media, advertising a local bakery…the opportunities are nearly limitless