Footballs on practice field
Photo Credit: John Peterson

Name, Image and Likeness Education Front of Mind for Players and Parents

July 29, 2021

The topic of name, image and likeness is changing the landscape of college athletics. Educating players and parents about NIL was one of the goals of the Future50 event put on by the Warren Academy. The 30-minute presentation introduced Opendorse to the players and showed how the company partners with athletes. Braly Keller and Tucker McHugh—two NIL specialists—instructed the athletes and their parents and showed how to best be proactive. That way they can hit the ground running when they get to college.

Still, there are a lot of questions that arise. After each session, a handful of parents stayed after to ask follow-ups.

“I think right away some of the most common questions are surrounding what can and can’t we do? Like what are those guardrails initially,” Keller said. “When can my athlete start engaging in NIL opportunities especially for high school audience? They’re curious about when does that opportunity turn on. I also think the question of what can our school do for us and that’s a very fine line right? A school can educate an athlete on NIL but the school can’t give them a NIL opportunity.”

That’s a very important thing to remember. Just because you go to Nebraska doesn’t mean every one of Nebraska’s corporate partners will give you a deal. That’s been a big disconnect and is an important about part of understanding NIL. Parents are curious about that part of it too, as well as the basics. That is also what the industry in general is trying to figure out.

That’s why it’s important to have educational sessions like Future50 did with Opendorse. Gathering as much information as possible with something so new has value. It can be difficult to even know what questions to ask as a parent. Parents of prospects are key decision-makers at this stage. They need a clear understanding of everything going on too if possible.

A very specific question that has come up often. People want to know about tax implications. Parents want to know if a student is on need-based scholarship how that impacts those scholarships. There is potential that money earned would be factored into the income of that family, which is something university financial aid offices are aware of and working with student athletes on.

There have been many twists and turns along the way with getting these rules in place. Surprises were bound to pop up. From the presenters’ point of view seeing people so fired up about NIL has been great.

“I’ve been encouraged. I’m encouraged to how many people are excited about this new era,” McHugh said. “How many parents want to do it the right way. I’m encouraged to see kids, that it resonates with them when we’re talking about compliance departments and now the most important thing is always going to be to get those grades, to get in that weight room, to perform athletically. That’s probably the most exciting part.”

Every day there are new fun and unique deals coming together around NIL. The creativity that student-athletes have been able to display has been fun to see. These high school athletes have time before that happens for them but getting educated early is a smart move for both prospects and parents alike.

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