How much will the landscape of college sports change on July 1?
Six states have Legislation on name, image and likeness (NIL) promulgated as law in force on that dateand several other states have bills on the ground. The NCAA and the federal government have yet to counter, and college sports fans wonder how much the student-athlete experience will change.
Another one of myriad questions: Who will help the student-athletes and the university’s compliance departments?
INFLCR will be one of the companies to become comprehensive as the NIL era takes hold. Jim Cavale founded the company in 2017 as a means to develop the value of social media for student athletes. Cavale makes it clear that INFLCR is not a market where student-athletes can earn money. The company works with university institutions to educate student-athletes on how to build their NIL brand and pinpoints where those opportunities will be available.
Cavale sees the NIL landscape as a gradual process.
“Anyone can make money from their NIL once this kicks in, but not everyone will,” Cavale told Sporting News. “Whether it’s a $ 10 pizzeria gift card you couldn’t get then and can now, or it’s a $ 100,000 deal with a regional car dealer, all of those things are suddenly going to be opportunistic. But it is going to take the initiative of the student-athlete. That will take some time because people are sensitive when it comes to navigating all these rules. “
At least in the early days of NIL, companies like INFLCR could help eliminate some of the “gray areas.”
How will NIL work on July 1?
Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, New Mexico and Texas enacted NIL legislation effective July 1, 2021. A total of 33 of the 130 FBS soccer programs, or 25.4 percent, are in those six states. Illinois, Iowa, Ohio, Nebraska, and Oregon have multi-stage bills that would go into effect on the same date.
That will allow student-athletes to benefit from their likeness. The NCAA and the federal government have yet to pass laws or uniform NIL laws in response. No federal law is expected to pass before July 1.
On Monday, the United States Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA in a 9-0 decision, which opens the door for student-athletes to receive compensation. This Supreme Court decision in National Collegiate Athletic Association vs. Alston it is yet another layer in NIL.
Cavale said the most common question from sports directors is an easy one.
“Compliance is the biggest concern there is,” Cavale said. “If you look at the state bills, they don’t require a student-athlete to report anything to the NCAA. All reports are required to the institution. There are a lot of concerns with that. They don’t believe athletes will self-report their transactions.”
What are those compliance concerns?
Tom Mitchell, associate director of compliance at Purdue, told Sporting News that the focus remains on educating student-athletes about NIL on a short notice.
Indiana does not have a state law in effect on July 1. How much worry does that create?
“Zero panic,” Mitchell said. “I know some other universities are. For us, we put together our task force over 14 months ago. We have been looking and diagnosing where the lines are drawn, in a way that doesn’t matter because we have to make sure that all the things that we are currently doing in terms of education and the process is there. Then, we are going to increase them. Once the lines are drawn, we will adapt. “
Mitchell said the concern is to make sure student-athletes don’t go over some of those “gray areas” in terms of taking advantage of bad endorsement deals that don’t meet what is expected to be NIL’s fluid guidelines.
“What if they sign a contract and don’t look at the fine print enough?” Mitchell said. “We can’t help with that, so it’s about making sure they don’t get caught up in a bad deal. If you want to talk about the things that concern me, I care about protecting our student-athletes in that regard. I feel sorry good about what we are doing from an educational point of view. “
Mitchell also said he expects the landscape to change dramatically from July 1 into the next few years. He also said that recording those transactions will not be one of the biggest challenges.
“If they are not going to have disclosure requirements, and that is left to the schools, what do we do?” Mitchell said. “What do we want to do? I know what our focus would be as an institution. We would like you to make it public so that we can help with education and programming and check for conflicts. If that is up to everyone, who knows what the organizations will do. schools? Everyone will be everywhere. That’s not a bad thing. It just makes it more difficult. “
How INFLCR and other companies fit in
Cavale played baseball at Ithaca College in Division II, but he knew his future lay in business. He recalled a conversation with former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, who retired at age 31, but told Cavale he felt a decade behind his classmates in Virginia when it came to life. after sports.
“My passion was all the athletes I met who were stars in college, and now they are trying to discover their lives; for some, it has been five years, ten years. How can we help them do that?” Cavale said. “Building your brand on social media is a clear way to start. There are many ways to expose that, and that’s what NIL is bringing to the scene.”
INFLCR initially focused on helping student-athletes build their brand equity through social media. With NIL, the company helps institutions educate student-athletes on how to establish their NIL business and locate places to monetize. INFLCR can then help institutions report and manage those transactions to maintain compliance.
will this work? On June 8, INFLCR reached an agreement with OpenSponsorship digital sponsorship marketplace to create a direct path for college athlete users to connect with brands and potential marketing partners. These companies will be critical to maintaining NIL compliance.
“It’s about getting student-athletes to start thinking outside of the game while they’re still playing it, while people still want to make monetization deals with them,” Cavale said. “It’s following them on social media or connecting with them online about an internship opportunity. Those things are more opportunistic while you’re still playing than when you’re done.
“Educating students and giving them a means to realize these financial opportunities was something we were excited to add to our platform when NIL became a reality,” he said.
At least initially, a part that will come from social media branding and local endorsement deals. That is where NIL education should continue.
“If we think we know and get a lot of education on Instagram and Twitter, but find that our student-athletes in one year are doing more with Facebook and TikTok, then we should tailor our education,” Mitchell said. “We are excited to see where the trends are going. No one has ever done it.”
What will happen on July 1?
Does the idea that college football becomes the Wild West overnight materialize? Cavale said that’s unlikely, especially knowing the legislation could change if the NCAA and the federal government get involved.
“There really is a fixed amount of dollars on the market, whether they are consumers who want to pay for a personalized video on Cameo or lessons for their child to learn how to play a baseball or if their advertisers want to spend money on an athlete to promote. your brand, “he said. “Now, there will be more options for student-athletes.”
“I feel like we’re going to be in a two-year window of ‘What will it be like?’ Mitchell added. “Things will emerge. We will adapt. I hope it will be completely different from July 2 to four years later because there will be a flood of people and companies and businesses could back down.”
So expect a slow move toward NIL benefits for student-athletes.
“I don’t think overnight you’re going to see all this action,” Cavale said. “The reality is that it’s hard to get on the field and have playing time, and then when you’re on the field and you make big plays and you’re an extraordinary player in college sports, that’s difficult. You have to make the most of your potential. “
Cavale said that NIL in its purest form allows student-athletes to think like students, who can get jobs to help pay for tuition. It’s another student-friendly change in college athletics, but those changes will take time.
“Is this going to change college sports forever?” Cavale asks. “Yeah, but it’s still going to be like anything that’s great. It’s a challenge that will take work and dedication from the athletes to win with this. Will that happen? Yes, but that’s why it’s going to start slow.”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.