Since the beginning, college athletics has followed one rule and now that rule has been broken. In July of 2021, the Supreme Court’s ruling on NCAA v. Alston allowed college athletes to receive money based on their Name, Image, and Likeness. This is better known as “N.I.L” and it’s been dominating college athletics the past two years and for good reason, this ruling can potentially change the dynamic of college sports.
You would think that athletes would jump at this chance, but many of them are confused and directionless in their journey.
“So I approached a few athletes and there was this constant theme of helplessness,” Says Jack Adler who is the founder of a marketing company known as “Out2Win.”
Jack and his team work exclusively with college athletes and help them find NIL deals with big name brands such as Carhartt and Crocs. Jack says that many think the NIL process is complicated, but in actuality it’s no different than a sponsorship from a professional athlete.
“It’s an opportunity for brands to use the platform of these athletes to reach people as a marketing tool,” Adler said.
But still what does this mean? How are these athletes getting paid? Is it the school sponsoring them? The simple and only answer is no they are not, the NCAA made sure that schools cannot pay athletes due to competition concerns with bigger schools having bigger budgets. However, brands and businesses outside the school can sponsor the athlete and pay them for commercials, social media marketing, and anything that involves that brand.
Still confused? I’ll break it down. Say there’s a Syracuse University basketball player who’s very popular in the area. If Syracuse University themselves pay him, that’d be illegal but If local restaurants such as Varsity Pizza sponsors for a commercial then he could receive the money from that.
This isn’t just for restaurants as well, Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor often sponsor the best player on the teams they have partnerships with. A great example of this is Ayliah Boston from the South Carolina Women’s Basketball team.
While this can open up many opportunities for athletes, not all of them are qualified to receive these deals, namely international athletes such as Sabine van den Eijnden from the Syracuse Field Hockey team.
Sabine is from The Netherlands, and she said that initially she didn’t know about NIL until she arrived in Syracuse.
“For me like it wasn’t it was not really clear like what you can post and can’t post,” she said.
The handicap placed on international athletes doesn’t take away her experience as a athlete, but the confusion and uncertainty could’ve been avoided in her opinion.
“I think a good informative session would be good and especially for American student athletes,” She said.
The NCAA is still making adjustments to the new ruling, so you can expect a lot more news and coverage regarding NIL. Regardless, this will change college athletics for years to come.