Gotta get your head in the game

Since the NCAA’s implementation of the name, image and likeness policy July 1, 2021, numerous student athletes have been able to benefit. However, since it’s been over a year since the rule was put in place, there have been pros and cons.

The positive aspect is athletes are getting compensation for all the work they put into what they are doing. Athletes, from star players in high-revenue sports to walk-ons have found the NIL lucrative. While there is no way to have NIL opportunities evenly apportioned among all athletes and all sports, it is clear that there have been far more athletes taking advantage of NIL than predicted.

Early on, it was said the NIL would be unfair to female athletes and hurt the image of women’s sports. Instead, women have thrived in the NIL space, not only earning money, but gaining a platform to advance gender equity in college sports and beyond. 

With NIL, all players now have the option to continue their education and earn financial compensation, and many have chosen to do so.

There have also been examples of athletes donating money earned to charitable causes. Donations are not seen as a requirement, but they are a positive.

There are some negatives to this, as well. Some players are going to make a lot of money, while others might not profit as much, making some athletes think that is unfair.

These players might start to get egotistical, which can affect their relationship with their team and influence where a player might decide to go to college for a better chance to get a marketing deal. Further, monetary rewards could be a distraction. 

We are increasingly seeing college sports look more like free agency. Players feel they can go wherever they want even if they are already committed to another college. Athletes will start looking to colleges that have better chances for marketing deals and would only look to those big colleges where they have a chance to make a lot of money. 

Overall, this is an influential topic that will impact colleges and their athletes in a positive way. The key will be for both players, coaches and university staff to continue to be smart about this. It seems that in the first year or so, things are going well. Students are still competing hard, and a lot of money and deals have been made.