College athletes can now profit off their work, appearance

By Kyle Wills

On July 1, the NCAA put into effect a new policy allowing student athletes from all three divisions to monetize their name, image and likeness.

The NCAA’s announcement specifies that athletes must still follow their state NIL laws and colleges and universities are responsible for determining whether those activities are consistent with state law. Now, athletes can accept endorsements from brands, monetize their social media presences and work with professional firms that coordinate these kinds of deals for athletes.

However, because there is no federal law, the new NCAA guidance allows students to engage in NIL activities as long as they stay within the law of the state where the school is located. It also allows students in states without NIL laws to participate without breaking NCAA rules.

Many college athletes were excited with the announcement and implementation of the new policy, and they believe they can finally benefit from their play.

“I was really excited because I think college athletes have worked so hard, and we’ve never been able to benefit off our name before,” junior basketball player Mady Aulbach said. “These high-end college athletes that their games are broadcasted nationally with millions of viewers, I think it’s about time that college athletes in general can benefit off how well they do in sports.”

Senior football player Jake Cummings became a sponsored athlete of Coates Car Care. The Canfield, Ohio native is also ecstatic that athletes can benefit from their performance.

“For years we heard that coming about for college athletes,” said Cummings. “It’s a great opportunity for athletes [of] any sport. A lot of [athletes] now have the opportunity to make money.”

Junior football player Griffin Hoak is excited that he can represent his family on the field.

“I was pretty excited. Growing up [EA Sports stopped producing] NCAA Football. Obviously athletes wanted to be paid for their name, image and likeness,” said junior football player Griffin Hoak. “I always wanted to represent myself and represent my family when I play college football.”

The policy has been in effect for a little over two months, and YSU athletes have already benefited from outside ventures. 

“There were a few companies that were like, ‘Hey, can we send you a T-shirt? You just post it. That’s all you have to do,’” Aulbach said. “I’m like, ‘Sure. That’s so easy.’ Another major pro is the fact that we just get to network and get our name out there. The biggest pro is the fact that you get to still play college sports, and a lot of us don’t have time to get a job, so you get to make some money and get your name out there with these different companies.”

Cummings said the biggest benefit is the opportunity to help out a friend.

“They hook [me] up with a free car wash [at Coates Car Care],” said Cummings. “Really it’s about helping out our boy’s [former YSU returner specialist Jake Coates] family business.”

Hoak is ecstatic that local businesses want to sponsor local athletes.

“To be able to put your face on a business exemplifies that local businesses do care about Youngstown State football,” said Hoak. “It’s exciting because all around the country small and large businesses want local athletes to be a face of their business.”