Lack of certainty expressed by players when it comes to NIL | OSU Sports


ARLINGTON, Texas – There is only one certainty expressed among conference administrators, coaches, and athletes regarding the ability of student-athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness, and that is that there is a complete lack of certainty.

When the NCAA had to concede the July 1 deadline for NIL after losing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, the floodgates opened for athletes in partnership with companies.

But after a few weeks in the new landscape of varsity sport, no one seems to have a clear idea of ​​why players are profiting for themselves.

“There is little we can do together nationally, and we are still finding our way. Our board has formed a subcommittee to discuss what these packages should look like, ”Big 12 Conference Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said this week at Big 12 Football Media Days. “And I think in the short term you will see some institutions comfortable with certain things and others not comfortable with it.

“We have two states that have state laws – Oklahoma and Texas have state laws in their states. These laws will prevail, and the rest is left to institutional discretion. In other states where there is no state law, the NCAA guidelines on this will need to prevail and schools will need to understand this. “

Bowlsby believes there will eventually be a more cohesive model for the NIL, “other than a patchwork of 50 states.”

But if the people who are paid to make the billion dollar varsity sports industry decision don’t know what to expect, how can athletes tell the difference?

This is a concern for many athletes, even as they begin to test the waters of the NIL.

“I’m just trying to be careful at this point,” said Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders. “I don’t want to take a random suspension that could really tax me.”

It is possible that athletes being able to monetize their name, image and likeness could prevent too many athletes from retiring from varsity play seeking to make money at the professional level when scouts may say that they are not yet ready for the next level.

TCU coach Gary Patterson even gave one of his recent athletes, Ar’Darius Washington, as an example.

Washington was a sophomore safety in a red shirt and skipped his last two years of college eligibility to turn pro after the 2020 season. He was not drafted and ended up signing as a rookie free agent with the Baltimore Ravens.

“He went early (to the) draft for security. He didn’t have all of the measurables, ”Patterson said. “Probably if he could have had sponsorship deals where he could have earned money that he could have given to his family, he might have stayed another year and then played at TCU right now. . “

It’s easy to think and say on the surface, but Washington wasn’t a player from a position of competence either.

A national name like ex-Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence may not have any real limits on what he could earn with his NIL, but what about athletes who are not known that in their conference or simply by the die-hard fans of their team?

That’s something Oklahoma State senior linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez is already thinking about as a defensive player.

“I just do stuff around the Stillwater community – just little things,” Rodriguez said. “You want to put your name there. If you can make pieces every now and then, someone will reach out or you will reach out to someone.

“I’ve learned that there will be a lot of uncertainty on this thing, so you’re doing your best, and the worst thing they can say is, ‘No. “So I can just keep reaching out.

One thing Rodriguez and other athletes do to kick start the process is simply create a brand.

From logos to trademarks, student-athletes have the chance to participate in the development of the creation of their own brand in the market.

“I’m excited for it, because it’s something to fall back on rather than football,” Rodriguez said. “So just getting your brand out there and launching it will help. “

There are still many questions surrounding the NIL, and for football fans and players alike, one of those questions will be how this might relate to EA Sports’ announcement in the spring of a future return of its video game. college football.

The NIL could allow athletes and EA Sports to work together like never before, including having actual information – such as names, hometowns, and likeness – of soccer players.

“I can’t wait to play and buy it,” said Rodriguez, who will have left college football by the time the game is released (which is probably a few years away).

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