By Marty Gordon
As of July 1, the landscape of college athletics changed like never before as athletes can now negotiate contracts to make money selling their name, image, and likeness.
As many as 460,000 NCAA student-athletes can now sign sponsorship deals.
This is compensation — usually money — earned by college athletes for the use of their fame or celebrity, either their name, their image, or a likeness of who they are.
Examples include being paid for autographs, appearing in an advertisement, or providing a social media shoutout. It means that a business can strike a deal with an athlete and pay the athlete to tout their services or product. Athletes are required to notify their schools of NIL (names, image, likeness) arrangements.
Already, this has included some interesting agreements.
A private marketing company called “Bring Back the U” has offered every scholarshipped player for the University of Miami a $600 a month contract to endorse the company American Top Team through their respective social media platforms.
University of Miami quarterback D’Eriq King has signed an endorsement deal with College Hunks Hauling Junk.
Of course, these deals can also include something as simple as an autograph session. University of Iowa basketball player Jordan Bohannon has paired with Boomin Iowa Fireworks for a meet-and-greet session at the fireworks business in Windsor Heights, Iowa.
Fresno State college basketball twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder, who have more than 3.3 million followers on Tik Tok, announced endorsement deals with Boost Mobile and Six Star Nutrition.
Lexi Sun, an All-American volleyball player at the University of Nebraska, announced her own apparel line on Thursday in an Instagram post. “The Sunny Crew” sweatshirt is the first piece on display of the Lexi Sun x REN Athletics line.
Auburn University quarterback Bo Nix announced a deal with a very Southern twist: He signed a deal with Milo’s, a company that manufactures sweet tea.
But not to upset the other half of Alabama, the company also signed University of Alabama defensive back Malachi Moore to endorse its sugary teas.
Mission Barbecue signed the entire Notre Dame offensive line to a deal for their local South Bend, Ind., Restaurant.
At Virginia Tech, athletes have also jumped into the fire.
Receiver Tre Turner announced via Instagram that he has signed a deal with Yoke Gaming.
Jordan Williams, who transferred to Blacksburg from Clemson, is working with with Playmaker, a marketing group, to help him as he looks to maximize his NIL opportunities. The company has already produced a T-shirt with Williams’s likeness.
Quarterback Braxton Burmeister is partnering with Procussion Recovery, which manufactures the Pulse vibrating massage ball that offers deep tissue massage and trigger point therapy to eliminate pain and stiffness, increase range of motion, and boost circulation.
So expect Burmeister to use the product in the locker room after every ball game.
Virginia Tech lacrosse player Kennedy Lynch has signed with Barstool Sports.
Yes, the big universities like Virginia Tech make lots of money off the athletes, but I just hope it doesn’t get out of hand. The student-athletes deserve some compensation in the larger scheme of things. The question is whether this is the way to do it. I honestly believe it could have been solved by just giving each athlete a stipend on an annual basis.
We will just have to let this play out and see how it affects collegiate athletics. Sports like football and basketball could be the biggest winner.
Maybe we will see James Mitchell making appearances at car lots in his hometown of Big Stone Gap, or how about being a spokesperson for Substation sandwich shop?