Updated: Aug 27, 2021
On July 1st, the NCAA approved a temporary policy to allow college athletes in 3 divisions to get compensated for the use of their Name, Image and Likeness. With this previous ban being temporarily lifted, 7 states are creating laws to allow athletes to make money.
This opened the flood gates to deals that have been in the works for months waiting for this announcement. On July 2nd, NBC Sports reported that under the NCAA rule change, college athletes can get paid from social media accounts, broker endorsement deals, autograph signings and other financial opportunities, and use an agent or representatives to do so. In addition to partnerships, many student-athletes will use their personal brands -- mainly built on social media -- to earn some money. When the clock struck midnight, student-athletes wasted no time in taking advantage of the opportunity to cash in on their names and fame, as 16 players announced their deals.
One of these deals was College Hunks Hauling Junk signing the the University of Miami Quarterback, D'Eriq King at the stroke of midnight. They wanted to be the first company to sign a deal with a college athlete to a Name, Image and Licensing (NIL) contract. College HUNKS Hauling Junk , headquartered in Tampa, was established in 2003 by two college buddies with a beat-up cargo van and now has more than 150 franchises providing full-service residential and commercial moving, junk removal, donation pickups and labor services in the United States and Canada.
“King is joining us at such a momentous time for college sports and for our business. We are thrilled to welcome him to our team and have him represent our brand,” said Nick Friedman, Co-Founder of College HUNKS.
HUNKS Co-founder Omar Soliman, said“As a former UM Hurricane, this is such an honor for our organization to be able to support my alma mater and athletes who work so hard at their sports,” said Soliman. “College HUNKS is committed to building and supporting leaders. Through our partnership with D’ Eriq King, we hope that we can help further his growth as he heads his football team, while also navigating school and life.”
Up until this moment, Universities and College have been benefitting financially through their sports programs. According to an Economist article , last year the Power Five conferences, made up of the 65 best American football teams from colleges, pulled in revenue of $2.9 billion dollars. Coaches were paid $4 million dollars on average a year. But athletes sit on the financial sidelines.
Plus, the NCAA itself benefits from college sports. In its 2020 fiscal year, the NCAA generated $827 million U.S. dollars in revenue from television broadcast payments and licensing rights. Over the term of the contract the multimedia and marketing rights payments will reach a total of $12.27 billion U.S. dollars.
Yet college athletes have been struggling financially to compete at a high level, exceed in the classroom, and in some cases are not allowed to work to make money to support themselves when playing their seasons.
In the past there have been numerous articles about College Athletes accepting help when they have been homeless or hungry, but have then been penalized by the NCAA because they violated the rules. One story in 2015 of a walk-on football player at Baylor, Silas Nacita was homeless and hungry, sleeping on friends floors and accepted a place to live, was then found ineligible to play football due to rules violations. Because he was a walk-on and not a scholarship player, room and board wasn't one of his benefits for being on the team.
In 2014, I read a startling story in Sports Illustrated, after a six month investigation found that 100,000 of U.S. youth, public school and college athletes have no stable place to live. I read that article all the way through in horror as it talked about gifted athletes, who have the ability to play at a high level and make a better life for themselves, but yet they are dealing with homelessness. It hit me in my gut. How could that be possible?
But today those statistics are not much better. A recent survey found that nearly a quarter of Division I college athletes experienced food insecurity in the last 30 days and almost 14 percent experienced homelessness in the previous year.
It is finally time to stop penalizing these college athletes if a booster or coach wants to help them with food, or a place to sleep, or a vehicle to help them get to practice and back home to study. Or in this case, block them from making money from their brand.
Trevor Lawrence, who played quarterback for Clemson, took his team to the National Championship in 2018 and then was drafted #1 by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the recent NFL draft, is a perfect example of an athlete who could have started receiving money as a college athlete. In a Sports Illustrated article it said that Trevor could have been making $15,000 per Instagram post, due to his 800,000 followers, and conservatively he lost out on $3 million to $5 million on NIL earnings.
Currently Trevor has endorsement deals with Gatorade, Adidas, Bose and Blockfolio, and he hasn't even played a game yet with the Jaguars. But he is no longer restricted as a college athlete and national companies want him to represent their brand.
Over the last few weeks, individual athletes are not the only ones making deals. The University of North Carolina just announced that it is the first college athletics program to organize group licensing deals for its current student athletes, in the latest development of the sea change transforming college athletics.
And on July 6th, the University of Miami athletic director spoke to the press about Dan Lambert, a University of Miami alumni, who also sent both of his kids to the the University creating a deal, brokered by Bring Back The U: a series of contracts, potentially worth upward of more than $500,000, to sign every scholarship Hurricanes football player to a sponsorship agreement with American Top Team, Lambert’s Coconut Creek-based mixed martial arts team and gym with more than 40 affiliates worldwide.
Lambert said. “When the NIL came out, I thought that there was an opportunity to do something that could directly impact, A, the lives of these kids that work so hard on the field and put so much into what they do, and, B, help companies because I think there’s a unique opportunity to support these kids and get some positive results from the advertising.”
I look forward to seeing more deals made and what a difference this opportunity will make in the lives of college athletes. Up to this point it appears so many other organizations have been benefitting from the hard work of these athletes. Hopefully those statistics of homelessness and food insecurity by college athletes will go down as they find ways to support themselves during college while excelling on and off the field!