September 16, 2022

Group licensing, digital platforms among the ways student-athletes can be compensated

It is a new era for college athletics, as student-athletes can now be compensated for the use of their name, image or likeness.

Endorsing a business on social media, appearances and autograph sessions, or camps are just some of the ways for student-athletes around the nation to be compensated, and Arizona State University has updated its name, image or likeness, or NIL, efforts.

“As we continue to evolve with the rapidly changing realities of college sports in 2022, ASU has developed a balanced, forward-looking approach to help our student-athletes identify, assess and implement NIL opportunities,” said Ray Anderson, vice president for University Athletics. “These are opportunities that can benefit them now as student-athletes, and also benefit them in the years ahead. 

“We have taken a hard look at what is needed to compete today, and we are taking important steps in that direction.” 

Here is a closer look:

  • ASU has established a group licensing program that covers all 26 of its varsity sports. The new program will support the pooled use of student-athletes’ NIL in licensing and marketing, creating opportunities without limiting their individual NIL rights. ASU is working with Florida-based the Brandr Group, which works with universities including Alabama, Ohio State, Oregon State, Florida and LSU on group licensing. The move gives student-athletes a path for inclusion in retail opportunities, including co-branded jerseys, apparel, trading cards, NFTs and the EA Sports College Football video game.
  • ASU is now working with Altius Sports Partners, sports business and education leaders who will collaborate with Sun Devil Athletics to support and advance NIL programs at the university.
  • ASU is working with Opendorse to provide each of its 650 student-athletes with a digital platform designed to help them maximize their individual brands. Opendorse also provides access to 150 on-demand courses that cover best practices in NIL on everything from branding and marketing to managing time and tax withholdings. Opendorse works with universities including Texas, Nebraska and Clemson.
  • Adidas unveiled a sweeping NIL network, and every eligible student-athlete at Adidas DI partner schools can become a paid affiliate brand ambassador. ASU is among the first universities to roll out this unique NIL opportunity this fall.
  • Additionally, ASU developed a multi-part NIL educational series that helps student-athletes learn about NIL storytelling, monetizing their social media, creating marketing strategies and financial literacy.

“As college athletics continues to evolve, a critical component of the experience is a formidable NIL program that educates and empowers student-athletes,” said Jean Boyd, ASU deputy athletics director and a former ASU football player. “Providing guidance to student-athletes to understand personal brands, seek out legitimate opportunities for engagement, and being aware of fiscal responsibility while educating Sun Devil Athletic supporters of appropriate means to connect with them are all foundational components of a strong NIL program.”  

Anderson notes that Sun Devil student-athletes already have extensively utilized the NIL space.

“Twenty-three of our 26 sports have at least one NIL deal, and nearly 200 businesses are already involved in NIL deals with Sun Devils,” he said. “But these steps will help us to be competitive in this quickly changing landscape.”

Top image: ASU gymnast Izzy Redmond. Photo courtesy Sun Devil Athletics.