College Athletes Might Finally Be Able to Make Money, and No Bullsh*t with Sarah Thomas

So let's just take this from the top.  

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What is the NIL bill?

N-I-L stands for Name, Image and Likeness. Remember when Northwestern football nearly unionized over not being paid to play. The NIL bills being slowly introduced to state governments is essentially a patch to that problem. Basically, student-athletes will be allowed to build personal brands and make money off their name, images and likeness, which is often called “Player IP”.

Student-athletes can be paid in 4 ways:

  1. 3rd party endorsements
  2. Social media promotions
  3. Creating own product/business activities
  4. Personal promotions like autograph signings/ meet & greets

Think back to NCAA Football (the video game) coming to a halt. That came after players revolted over not being paid by EA Sports for using their name, image and likeness in a video game, without their permission, where they were profiting but the players were not seeing a penny. Same thing with college bookstores. You can buy a t-shirt jersey, but it no longer has the player’s name attached to a number. In short, soon college athletes will be getting paid - but not by their universities.


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Why do we need this?

University athletics departments annually generate MILLIONS+ of dollars and are a key source of revenue and brand recognition for colleges. Under the guise of amateurism, most college athletes are not allowed to profit from the brand endorsements or other money making endeavors beyond what colleges provide for their attendance (aka books, tuition, housing). 

In 2018 alone, the NCAA reported $1b in revenue. And the players, obviously the key part to the machine, didn’t see a singe penny (legally…) Bottom line is the NCAA makes a shit ton of money off the backs of its athletes, and the athletes (the ones making all this money for universities), don’t see any of it.

What does this mean moving forward? You’re going to see an emerging need for:

  • Personal brands
  • Agents
  • Attorneys
  • Brand Consultants
  • Content Producers
  • Influencer marketing via social media will be the primary money-making vehicle of the modern-day student-athlete. 

So how do they get the best personal brands?

Colleges have entered an arms race at hiring the best content producers and brand consultants to lure in the best recruits, assuming NIL bills will continue to be of conversation & get passed in the near future. Some athletic departments have full teams of video producers, graphic designers, and photographers ready to help create the personal brands of the athletes at the university. Teams are also hiring brand consultants to work directly with their teams to give the best instruction on how to grow their personal brands & best practices in the content industry. 

Bottom line is college athletes will soon be marketing themselves and creating content to build a personal brand like sports have never seen before. The bigger the following, the more they get paid-- and they have every incentive to get in the game early.

Next up is a great interview with the first female to ever ref in an NFL game, Sarah Thomas. Erika talks with Sarah about her upbringing & how she worked her way into the NFL, the importance of working hard with your head down, taking responsibility, her best pre/post game routines, and how to be the best in your field. This conversation is an awesome one, and she gives great insights into how to build your career. 

Get the episode on Youtube, Apple Podcasts & Spotify here: