boon or bust for student-athletes?

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Photos courtesy of U of M Athletics Gadiva Hubbard

The name, image and likeness (NIL) have allowed male and female university athletes to sign personal agreements since July 1. Now that nearly six months have passed, has the new NCAA rule lived up to its original billing?

NIL means that any business can approach a student-athlete and ask if they can use their name, image or image to endorse their products. Ithaca College professor Ellen Staurowsky told us that a better term than NIL is “athlete approvals”.

Open Dorse, a national organization that supports athletes and NIL, reports that “tens of thousands of varsity athletes” since July 1 have signed NIL agreements and disclosed activities. Big Ten, Big 12, and SEC are among the top three conferences where football (65% of deals signed), men’s basketball (14%) and track and field are the top three men’s sports, and basketball ( 8%), volleyball (3.7%) and softball rank among the top three sports for women.

The average athlete compensation per contract based on contract length is almost $ 700 (Division I), around $ 70 (Division II) and just over $ 35 for Division III, also noted Open Dorse. Axios recently released a spreadsheet of University of Minnesota Athletes and Their NIL Agreements: At least 80 players in 18 sports have about 150 NIL agreements.

“They must disclose any deal they make [with] our compliance department so that it can be documented for NCAA policies and standards, ”explained Mike Wierzbicki, Senior Associate AD External Affairs at U of M.“ It’s documented and we know what kind of ‘agreements we make. “

Social media accounts for the majority (66.4%) of NIL offerings from Minnesota athletes. “It doesn’t have to be cash,” Wierzbicki continued.

“There are offers that could be product-related where we could compensate you with clothing or equipment. For example, if you are a golfer and you make this offer, we will give you a golf bag. There are other types of compensation as well, whether in the form of food, clothing or equipment.

Most schools have open NIL approval departments such as the one in Minnesota. Staurowsky expressed his concern about it, seeing it more as a possible conflict of interest or, at best, another way of controlling things. “It is clear that there is a lot more money in the system that could go to the athletes,” she said. “I think there are so many things that are unresolved right now.”

Gopher’s guard, Gadiva Hubbard, told us, “I know there are a lot of rules that come into play, and this is something that keeps me from doing that. She noted that several teammates have NIL deals, which she says are mostly based on their social media presence.

Photos courtesy of U of M Athletics Mike Wierzbicki

“They want you to have an audience,” she added of most companies’ preference for partnering with college athletes. “They want you to bring more traffic to their staff,” Hubbard said.

“I think it’s far too early to say” whether these NIL deals will be a boon or a failure for varsity athletes, said Karen Weaver, assistant assistant professor at the University of Pennsylvania. “We all know some people are going to get so-called big deals because they are seen as stars.”

According to Wierzbicki, “I think things are going well here in Minnesota. It’s not just about athletic performance. They can now do things and monetize the skills they have. They can go and do things more in tune with the student body in general, which we see as a great advantage for them.

Wierzbicki pointed out that NIL is not “paying to play”.

“It’s really about your name, your image and your likeness. Our goal will continue to be to ensure that our student-athletes are prepared and receive the education they need to be successful. ”

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