How NIL rights have changed the NCAA landscapeBlog / 10.19.2021
It has almost been a little over four months since the NCAA has altered its stance it long had for collegiate athletes having the ability to make money off their name, image and likeness (NIL). Mostly everyone knows how we arrived here, and that a change had to happen or state laws were going to go into effect that would have further forced the NCAA’s hand.
Now we are here, and the money is out there and so are the athletes. I was talking with an agency a couple week back and the unknowns are intriguing. The conversation was great and we found ourselves stumbling down memory lane of past college athletes and what this would have meant even a couple of years ago. Imagine if Zion Williamson had this opportunity, or if Christian Laettner had this opportunity after “The Shot”, or his teammate, Grant Hill, advertised for Sprite during his NBA career. Okay… I’ll shift gears to another team because by now you have picked up that I am a Duke fan.
What if NIL was around during Tim Tebow’s time at Florida… that was hard to type given my other love is the University of Georgia. It is fun to speculate what these athletes would have done when you think of the past. However, looking towards the future is also exciting, when considering the current partnerships between brands and athletes. Brands are being creative, and a great example is the “RBs for Arby’s” campaign, simple and a play on their name while capitalizing on NIL. I could not help but laugh out loud during the Georgia season opener when stumbling upon the Dr. Pepper Fansville ad. The Sheriff is on the phone learning college athletes can be in commercials now, then the camera cuts to D.J. Uiagalelei, and the sheriff says he now “wants to be in a commercial.” Just last month one of the largest deals announced under NIL was United Wholesale Mortgage with Michigan State athletes. There are still some grey areas in this deal that people are figuring out, but the USA Today Article headline sums up what we are all still learning: “'No one's getting hurt:' Boosters, businesses getting bigger and bolder in deals with college athletes”.
Social media is a great way to reach fans, have high engagement with followers and now you can tap into college athletes for creative campaigns. Cast Iron Media works with different levels of athletes on different platforms and can assist when a brand is learning how to leverage this unique time, and creatively reach fans at home or at the game. I, for one, am excited to see how these new NIL rules will evolve and impact the sports partnership landscape over the next few years.