The NCAA is worth over $20 billion, as it was last reported to be worth $18.9 billion two years ago in 2019. Each year the juggernaut is under contract with multiple television, commercial marketing and equipment companies in which they receive a pre-determined revenue, based on the success of each. What is a factor of said success of each company? The performance and relatability of the athletes producing content for the NCAA.
The NCAA recruits athletes to play at their schools. Due to their multiple contract deals they are able to exploit their athletes’ talents for entertainment purposes, and in-turn, create a constant revenue stream from the success of those companies.
There is no problem with that business plan. The problem is that, until July 1, 2021, NCAA athletes were not legally able to make money off their name, image, and likeness (NIL). In its entire 115 years of existence, the NCAA never allowed their players to make money just as they were, off or with the revenue made from various outlets in which their money was coming in.
Although it is on an interim basis, the NIL rule could change the landscape of college sports. Currently there are only .003% of college athletes making money under this rule, but it is a step in the right direction.
There are some high-profile names who are benefiting from the new rule. Names like: Trey Knox (Arkansas), Dontaie Allen (Kentucky), Hercy Miller “son of Master P” (Tennessee State) and D’eriq King (Miami). There are also lesser-known athletes who are able to benefit from this new rule in ways that most people may not have even thought of.
Will Ulmer, Marshall University football player, is also a musician who has not been able to perform under his own name due to his relationship with the NCAA before this new rule. Now that Ulmer can make money off his name outside of football, he can perform his music on stage under his given name.
It is interesting to see the different ways college athletes can make money. Whether having endorsement deals or performing live music, college athletes are finally free from the financial restraints put on them by the NCAA.
The endorsement deals are where the athletes will be making the most money. “These aren’t your grand-daddy’s endorsement deals,” said CEO of Opendorse, Blake Lawrence. “This is an entirely new world of athlete endorsements. Social media is the leading factor in student athletes earning compensation from brands or fans.” Evidence coming from Hercy Miller’s deal with Web Apps America which is worth $2 million. Miller is only a freshman.
Social media will also play a significant role in the development and production of endorsement deals. In this social media driven society, athletes will use their accounts, which they already use for personal reasons, to promote their brand deals as well as any events pertaining to their school and/or individual team.
As reported by Josh Schafer of Yahoo! News,”‘nearly 90% of all deals are centered around social media promotion. The deals ranged from social media posts promoting a product. To Clemson’s starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei appearing in a Dr. Pepper video advertisement.” PetSmart is another major company that decided to team-up with a college athlete and use their popularity to promote the company’s message.
Arkansas wide receiver, Trey Knox, has partnered with PetSmart and is a ‘proud dog-dad’. Max Molski and Kelley Ekert of NBC Sports Chicago report “the social campaign will showcase Knox’s love for Blue (his dog) while also highlighting the lengths PetSmart will go to support pets and pet parents,”.
College athletes are finally receiving the compensation they deserve. For many of these athletes they spend at least 40 hour/week training and preparing for their sport. With the time put in and the dedication given, the NCAA is long overdue for this change in philosophy.