This week saw the beginning of the NIL-era of college athletics.
Suddenly allowed to profit from their name, image and likeness (or NIL), college athletes are unleashing a barrage of endorsement deal announcements.
Potentially 460,000 NCAA student-athletes can now sign sponsorship deals. And the profit-making has already begun as college athletes are taking to social media to announce the different types of deals they had signed.
University of Miami quarterback D’Eriq King announced on Twitter Thursday he was signing an endorsement deal with College Hunks Hauling Junk, along with teammate Bubba Bolden.
King also paired with Florida State quarterback McKenzie Milton as co-founders on NIL platform Dreamfield, which focuses on booking live events for student athletes. Those are two of the four deals that King has inked since Thursday.
Some of the deals were for local advertisers. University of Iowa basketball player Jordan Bohannon paired with Boomin Iowa Fireworks for a meet-and-greet session at the fireworks business in Windsor Heights, Iowa.
Bohannon tweeted later that “I also held a baby today at the appearance. I was really nervous.”
Bohannon, who holds the school’s record for career 3-pointers made and games played, also launched an apparel shop.
Lexi Sun, an All-American volleyball player at the University of Nebraska, announced her own apparel line on Thursday in an Instagram post. “The Sunny Crew” sweatshirt is the first piece on display of the Lexi Sun x REN Athletics line.
Brothers Trey and Bryce McGowens, who play basketball for the University of Nebraska, launched a podcast, “Off Court,” which is sponsored by a tavern and bar in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Auburn University quarterback Bo Nix announced a deal with a very Southern twist: He signed a deal with Milo’s, a company that manufactures sweet tea.
But not to upset the other half of Alabama, the company also signed University of Alabama defensive back Malachi Moore to endorse its sugary teas.
The rush of endorsements comes on the heels of a decision by the NCAA Division I Council to allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness without violating NCAA rules – until federal legislation or new NCAA rules are adopted.
In states that have passed NIL-related laws – Alabama, Florida and Georgia, among others – athletes would be able to participate in NIL activities that are “consistent with the laws of the state where the school is located,” the NCAA said in a news release.
For states without NIL laws, athletes will be able to freely engage in NIL activities, making money off signing autographs, or endorsement deals, but schools and conferences in those states “may choose to adopt their own policies.”
The moves comes after the Supreme Court unanimously decided last week that student-athletes could receive education-related payments. The case could reshape college sports by allowing more money from a billion-dollar industry to go to the athletes.
College sports raise billions of dollars from ticket sales, television contracts and merchandise, and supporters of the students say the players are being exploited and barred from the opportunity to monetize their talents.
In 2016, for example, the NCAA negotiated an eight-year extension of its broadcasting rights to March Madness, worth $1.1 billion annually.