Starting on July 1, college athletes could begin to monetize their name, image and likeness (NIL) for commercial purposes. It has now been just over a week since this all took effect and it’s a good time to take a look back and see how Wisconsin athletes have benefitted from the new policy.
First things first, let’s see what UW’s NIL policy is for their athletes:
Student-athletes at the University may earn compensation for use of her or his name, image, and/or likeness for a commercial purpose when the student-athlete is not engaged in Official Team Activities. Compensation for a student-athlete’s name, image, and/or likeness must be at a rate commensurate for work actually performed and at a rate based on Fair Market Value. All financial ramifications and tax implications related to student-athlete compensation for use of her or his name, image, and/or likeness are the responsibility of the student-athlete.
UW also notes that “Compensation may not be provided to a student-athlete for athletic performance or attendance at the University” and “The University, including its athletics department, and staff members may not compensate or arrange for compensation to be paid to a current or prospective student-athlete for her or his name, image, and/or likeness.”
“This is an exciting day for college athletics, but specifically for our student-athletes,” UW Director of Athletics Chris McIntosh said. “We are proud to present them with a policy that will allow them freedom to take advantage of the opportunities that will be presented as we move into this new era.”
Wisconsin will also provide athletes education via their YouDub program a “specifically-designed NIL readiness program for Wisconsin Athletics.”
Starting quarterback Graham Mertz was the first player in the country to release information about his personal logo and he followed that up with a website that featured his face and name plastered all over every type of clothing you can think of.
Excited to announce that I am officially releasing my wearables website! Hope you all enjoy!— Graham Mertz (@GrahamMertz5) July 1, 2021
Check out my official wearable collection at the link below:https://t.co/z8XCVfpP4o
Thank you for your support. It’s only the beginning! pic.twitter.com/aQae7ce05u
He is probably on the high end of what players can expect out of NIL. He’s the quarterback of a big state school with no other FBS schools in his state...in other words, he’s a big deal. Other prominent players around the country, like Miami (Fla.) QB D’Eriq King, have also signed deals with companies for as large as five figures. That is not the norm however.
What is much more common is things like UW tight end Hayden Rucci announcing that he is on Cameo, a site where you can hire celebrities to record personalized videos, or multiple players at UW, and at other schools, having personal discount codes for delivery service Gopuff which is surely popular among students in Madison.
Excited to be partnering with @BookCameo ! Go check it out!! pic.twitter.com/dKwRQJdenz— Hayden Rucci (@haydenrucci) July 7, 2021
I think i figured out which company contacted #Badgers players with NIL opening up today. pic.twitter.com/BxYL7GG255— Dave Heller (@dave_heller) July 1, 2021
Allowing athletes to cash in on NIL has also brought some back to social media. Senior guard Brad Davison notes that he hadn’t been active on Twitter for over 2.5 years but now he is back with some advice for younger athletes and promotion for his sister’s new clothing line.
After being inactive on Twitter for 2.5 years, I have decided to rejoin Twitter for my Final Season of College Basketball! I have learned a lot of Truths in regards to Social Media. With the changing landscape in NCAA, these Truths are Key for all young, aspiring athletes! pic.twitter.com/ppBfL2buqP— Brad Davison (@braddavi34) July 1, 2021
My Sister started a new clothing brand called “Set Apart”! She let me Design my own shirt. I will be Wearing these everyday! Here is the message behind the shirt ❤️— Brad Davison (@braddavi34) July 7, 2021
If you would like a Shirt you can DM me for more Information! pic.twitter.com/vW1dIXiHOe
Something that wasn’t at the forefront of my mind at least is the fact that some players won’t feel financially pressured to go pro before they’re ready on the court/field. The amount of high end players, like UCLA’s Johnny Juzang, St. Johns’ Julian Champagnie, Kansas’ Ochai Agbaji, Arizona State’s Marcus Bagley, Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson and Ohio State’s EJ Liddell, set to return to the NCAA after declaring for the NBA Draft is staggering.
There were also cases like Davison, a player who probably doesn’t have much of a professional future, deciding to use his COVID year to have one more season of basketball instead of going pro in something other than sports.
To anyone who insisted that NIL would be bad for college sports, just look at all the NBA Draft withdrawals this week.— Lila Bromberg (@lilabbromberg) July 8, 2021
College basketball is going to be stacked next season, but way more importantly, guys aren't feeling pressured to leave prematurely out of financial concern.
You do have to feel bad for former athletes who weren’t able to capitalize on their popularity while they were in school. If I ever see Brevin Pritzl out in Madison I’ll buy him a beer because I feel bad that he couldn’t get a KK sponsorship.
If this legislation would have passed when I was in college I would have tried to be doing deals with the Kollege Klub, Bassett Street Brunch Club and Mickies 100%— Brevin Pritzl (@BrevinPritzl) July 1, 2021