The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) has kept restrictions on college sports to prevent pay-for-play, but now, an interim policy allows current and incoming student-athletes to make money off their names, images, and likenesses (NIL). The policy change took place in July 2021, which begs the question: do college athletes get paid in 2021? Read on for everything we know about the policy and who has been using it to their advantage.
So, do college athletes get paid in 2021?
A report by NBCSports outlines the interim policy from the NCAA, which will apply to all three divisions of sports. Athletes will be allowed to monetize "social media, endorsements, autograph signings, and other financial opportunities" and will also be allowed to use an agent or representative to broker these kinds of deals.
In a statement, NCAA president Mark Emmert explained the policy change. "This is an important day for college athletes since they all are now able to take advantage of name, image, and likeness opportunities. With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level. The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve."
However, the NIL policy states that all money-making must be consistent with the laws of the state where the student's school is located. Athletes will report their NIL activities to their school, and the college or university will take care of making sure the activities adhere to state laws. While it is unclear how long this interim policy will last, many students have already begun capitalizing on the opportunities before them.
There are many young athletes already capitalizing on the new policy.
TikTok stars Hanna and Haley Cavinder, also known as "The Cavinder Twins," were the first athletes to sign NIL deals. The sisters, who play for Fresno State women's basketball, became spokespeople for Boost Mobile as soon as the policy went into effect. Their endorsement was displayed on a billboard in Times Square as arranged by their management, Icon Source. Icon Source is known for arranging deals that connect athletes to companies.
Marshall University offensive lineman Will Ulmer has decided to use the new NIL rules to pursue another passion of his: music. The football player announced on July 1, 2021, that he would be performing live shows using his own name (having previously played under the alias "Lucky Bill") in the future.
More than one athlete had the idea to craft their merch, and now you can purchase a wide variety of gear from athletes themselves. Dontaie Allen, who plays men's basketball for Kentucky, and Lexi Sun of Nebraska women's volleyball both inked deals with places like The Player's Trunk and REN Athletics to come out with shirts and sweatshirts in their likeness and name.
Trey Knox, who is an Arkansas University wide receiver, was even lucky enough to score a deal with PetSmart. The deal's announcement also said that Trey would do "anything" for his adorable pup Blue. It sounds like this deal was a perfect match! Congratulations to all the college athletes who are living their best lives.