In recent years, student athletes, who were previously not able to receive compensation for their play, now have opportunities to monetize their skills. This is part of the NCAA’s Name, Image, and Likeness policy, which allows student athletics to sign deals with companies in order to make money and grow their brands.
Professor David Meluni at Falk College believes this to be a very positive development. “I think it’s fantastic,” Meluni said. “I think it’s encouraging student athletes to be entrepreneurs and they get to pick in what capacity and how much they want to put into it.”
Meluni says as to the possibilities that have arisen under this new policy that this rule is “an opportunity for student athletes now to monetize…their name, their image, and then their likeness, where we look at…possibility, like video games and NFTs and things like that.”
College athletes like Bryce Young have been able to take advantage of this new policy, and another such athlete is Syracuse University basketball star Joe Girard III. Girard made an appearance at Schine Student Center Wednesday afternoon as a promotion for Dunkin’, where people were able to receive Dunkin’-branded cups autographed by Girard. He says he is grateful for the ability to grow his brand and monetize his skills. “I’m honored,” Girard said. “It’s been a lot of fun so far. And I’m very, very proud of it.”
Matt Cinelli, a manager of the SU men’s basketball team, says Girard’s appearance is evident of what he claims to be Girard’s positive influence at SU and in the greater Syracuse community. “Joe is a great guy,” Cinelli said. “I work with him…I’m a manager on the basketball team. Helps out the community, helps out the school…he’s a great guy all around.”
Girard has made three promotional posts on behalf of Dunkin’ on Instagram in recent months, and they have all returned very encouraging engagement figures. Prof. Meluni says this kind of traffic could benefit SU student athletes a great deal. “Dunkin’ is going to be very happy in that Dunkin’ is probably going to say, ‘all right, when Joe graduates, we’re going to want to go and use another SU men’s and women’s basketball player,'” Meluni said.