On July 1st at 12:02 a.m. Auburn quarterback Bo Nix posted on Instagram to the world that his family loves to drink Milos tea over the holidays. Within hours, according to 247Sports.com, more than a half a dozen of his teammates and college athletes from all over the country were announcing partnerships with commercial entities.
Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling last week, starting on July 1, college athletes can now make money off of things like endorsement deals, signing autographs and social media content. In other words, student-athletes are now allowed to benefit off their name, image and likeness or what is called NIL. Previously, that very notion had been prohibited under NCAA rules.
States Are Scrambling But Not Alabama
The state of Alabama has been ready for this sea change. Back in April, Governor Kay Ivey signed into law a NIL law aimed at ensuring student-athlete eligibility and compliance with current state laws. Other SEC states, including Florida and Georgia passed NIL state laws in anticipation of the court ruling.
Meanwhile, after the ruling, institutions like the University of Alabama released a guidance document for not only student-athletes, but for fans, boosters and athletic staff.
Student-athletes profiting from their name, image and likeness is long overdue according to Bham Now Content Producer Keilani Hamann, who was a member of the University of Alabama Rowing Team.
“I think it’s a really positive change for athletics in general. It seemed a little bit unfair that athletes couldn’t use their image or their name. Previously athletes couldn’t even have their own small businesses. They couldn’t have their own YouTube channels or their own podcast. It inhibited passions. It’ll be interesting to see how it impacts team dynamics, but I think overall it’s a good benefit because it doesn’t really make any sense why we couldn’t do it before.”
Lots of Announcements
As of noon on July 1st, more than a dozen college student-athletes have announced partnerships and endorsements with various companies, including 10 of Nix’s teammates (and that list is growing) on the Auburn Football team. Incoming Auburn gymnast and Olympian Sunisa Lee is also expected to ink some endorsements. Across the state,Alabama football players Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinsty (he also played with Nix at Pinson Valley High School) and Traeshon Holden have announced partnerships too.
It’s a brave new world for college sports. Keilani, who graduated this Spring, summed up it best.
“It’s going to be pretty big when you think about Alabama athletics. We have 21 varsity sports and 17 of our varsity sports made it to the postseason. When you think of Alabama you think of athletics. Millions of people are watching. Even women softball games, and those girls can’t make any money off that. But now they know that they can because they already have a huge social media following so it’s gonna be a really positive thing.
I just wish I was still a student athlete while this happened!” she said with a laugh.
Tell us who are the next big Auburn and Alabama sports stars to get endorsements. And what about UAB, Troy, Jacksonville State and University of South Alabama? Can’t wait to se what happens next.