Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) and July 1: What changes are coming for college football?

How will the varsity sport landscape change on July 1?

Six states have Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) legislation enacted as of this date, and several more states have bills on the floor. The NCAA and the federal government have yet to respond, and college sports fans are wondering how much the student-athlete experience will change.

Another of the myriad questions: who will help student-athletes and university compliance departments?

The INFLCR will be one of the companies that will become essential as the era of the NIL sets in. Jim Cavale founded the company in 2017 with the goal of reinforcing the value of social media for student-athletes. Cavale makes it clear that the INFLCR is not a money market for student athletes. The company works with academic institutions to educate student-athletes on how to develop their NIL brand and indicates where these opportunities will be available.

Cavale sees the NIL landscape as a gradual process.

“Anyone can make money with their NIL once it goes live, but not everyone will,” Cavale told Sporting News. “Whether it’s a $ 10 gift card to a pizza place that you couldn’t get when you can now – or a $ 100,000 deal with a regional car dealership – all of these things are going to be opportunistic all of a sudden. , but it’s going to take the initiative of the student-athlete. It’s going to take a while because people are sensitive to going through all of these rules. “

At least in the nascent NIL era, companies like the INFLCR could help eliminate some of the “gray areas”.

How will NIL work on July 1?

Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas enacted NIL legislation effective July 1, 2021. A total of 33 of the 130 FBS football programs – or 25.4% – are found in these six states. Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska, and Oregon have bills in different stages that would come into effect on the same date.

This will allow student-athletes to benefit from their likeness. The NCAA and the federal government have yet to pass uniform NIL legislation or legislation in response. A federal law is not expected to be passed by July 1.

On Monday, the United States Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA in a 9-0 decision, which opens the door for student-athletes to receive compensation. This decision of the Supreme Court in National College Athletics Association vs. Alston is yet another layer in NIL.

Cavale said the most common question from athletic directors is simple.

“Compliance is the biggest concern there,” Cavale said. “If you look at the state bills, they don’t require a student-athlete to report anything to the NCAA. All reports are required at the institution. There are a lot of concerns about this. . They don’t believe that the athletes will report their transactions themselves. “

What are these compliance concerns?

Tom Mitchell, associate director of compliance at Purdue, told Sporting News the focus remains on educating student-athletes about the NIL in a short period of time.

Indiana has no state law in effect on July 1. What concern does this create?

“Zero panic,” Mitchell said. “I know other colleges are. For us, we formed our task force over 14 months ago. We have searched and diagnosed wherever the lines are drawn, in a way that has not of importance because we have to make sure that all the things that we are currently doing in terms of education and process are there. Then we will increase it. Once the lines are drawn, we will adapt. “

Mitchell said the concern is making sure student-athletes don’t overstep some of those “gray areas” in terms of profiting from bad sponsorship deals that don’t meet what should be fluid NIL guidelines.

“What if they sign a contract and haven’t looked closely enough at the fine print?” Mitchell said. “We can’t help with that, so it’s a matter of making sure that they didn’t get locked into a bad deal. You mean things that worry me, I worry about protecting our students- athletes in that sense, I feel good about what we are doing from an educational point of view.

Mitchell also said he expects the landscape to change dramatically from July 1 to the next few years. He also said that recording these transactions would not be one of the biggest challenges.

“If they don’t have disclosure requirements, and that’s left to the schools, what do we do?” Mitchell said. “What do we want to do? I know what our approach would be as an institution. We would like you to disclose it so that we can help with education and programming and check if there are any conflicts. If it’s left to everyone, “who knows what the schools are going to do? Everyone will be everywhere. It’s not a bad thing. It just makes it harder.”

How the INFLCR and other companies fit in

Cavale played baseball at Ithaca College in Division II, but he knew his future was in business. He recalled a conversation with former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, who retired at 31 but told Cavale he felt a decade behind his fellow New Yorkers. Virginia class when it came to living after sports.

“My passion was all the athletes I met who were stars in college, and now they’re trying to figure out their lives – for some it’s been five years, 10 years. How can we help them do that? ? ” said Cavale. “Building their brand on social media is a clear way to start. There are so many ways to explain this, and that’s what NIL brings into the picture. ”

The INFLCR initially focused on helping student-athletes develop their brand value through social media. With NIL, the company helps institutions train student-athletes on how to start their NIL business and find places to monetize. Then the INFLCR can help institutions report and manage these transactions in order to stay in compliance.

Is this going to work? On June 8, the INFLCR reached an agreement with the digital endorsement marketplace OpenSponsorship to create a direct path for its varsity athlete users to connect with brands and potential marketing partners. These companies will be an integral part of maintaining NIL compliance.

“It’s about getting student-athletes to start thinking beyond the game while they’re still playing it, while people still want to make monetization deals with them,” Cavale said. “It’s about following them on social media or connecting with them online about an internship opportunity. These things are more opportunistic while you’re playing than once you’re done.

“Educating students and empowering them to realize these financial opportunities was something we were excited to add to our platform when NIL became a reality,” he said.

At least in the beginning, part of it will come from social media branding and local support agreements. This is where NIL education will need to continue.

“If we think we know and offer a lot of education on Instagram and Twitter, but find that our student-athletes in a year are doing more with Facebook and TikTok, then we should adapt our education,” Mitchell said. . “We’re excited to see where the trends are going. No one has ever really done that. “

What will happen on July 1st?

Has the idea of ​​college football becoming the Wild West overnight come true? Cavale said it was unlikely, especially considering that the legislation could change if the NCAA and the federal government got involved.

“There really is a set number of dollars in the market, whether it’s consumers who want to pay for a personalized video on Cameo or classes for their son to learn how to hit a baseball or his advertisers want. spend money on an athlete. to promote their brand, ”he said. “Now there is going to be more choice for student athletes.”

“I feel like we’re going to be within a two-year window of ‘What is this going to look like?” Mitchell added. “Things are going to pop up. We will adapt. I expect it to be completely different from July 2 to four years later because there will be a stampede of people and then businesses and businesses may back down. “

So expect a slow movement towards NIL benefits for student athletes.

“I don’t think you’re going to see all of this action overnight,” Cavale said. “The reality is just like it’s hard to get on the field and have some playing time – and then when you come on the field and play big plays and are an amazing player in college sports – that is, It’s difficult. You have to make the most of your potential. “

Cavale said that NIL in its purest form allows student-athletes to think like students, who are able to find employment to help pay for tuition. This is another student-friendly change in varsity athletics, but those changes will take time.

“Is this going to change college sport forever? Cavale asks. “Yes, but it’s always going to be like anything great. It’s a challenge that will take work and dedication from the athletes to win with it. Will it happen? Yes, but because of that’s going to start slowly. “

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