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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

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The Impact of NIL at the U

Thanks to NIL, University of Utah athletes are provided more than ever before.
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Sam Garcia
(Design by Sam Garcia | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

In 2019, California was the first state to allow college athletes to make money using their name, image and likeness, or NIL. After the ruling, other states followed suit and decided that it was right for their own college athletes to make money.

Traditionally, it was hard for a student-athlete who needed money to support themselves to balance work with athletics and school. But through NIL, that has begun to change.

The introduction of NIL has brought several benefits, all centered around the student. It puts the students first on what they can benefit from and where. It’s also changed how we view these players, with commercials, endorsements, social media posts and more. Overall, it has helped players make a name for themselves and put themselves on the map.

The University of Utah has put in a lot of effort to take advantage of these NIL opportunities. Thanks to the U, players across all sports have a chance of securing some money and marketing as well for their own personal brand. Last summer, Utah Athletics and the David Eccles School of Business started “Elevate U,” a program in which athletes can match with businesses, alumni and people who want to help the athletes in the NIL process. Some examples of the deals it has fostered are football player Cam Rising’s partnership with Mountain America Credit Union and CW Urban providing gifts to the women’s basketball team.

Utah also has a great number of athletes with a high valuation number, according to On3.com, a site that measures players’ projected NIL monetary value and marketability. Many athletes are worth at least 10k. Before the NIL laws were enacted, college players were not able to make a dime while playing; now they can focus on their athletic and academic careers without worrying about living expenses.

NIL incorporates the community, too. The Crimson Collective is a non-profit organization within the Elevate U program which works to aid the community and student-athletes at the same time. The Crimson Collective helps players use their NIL abilities and opportunities to sponsor charities, which promotes the charity, the company and the player, so everyone can win. So far, they have raised $1.25 million for a variety of causes.

On Oct. 4, the Crimson Collective and its donors gave 85 of Utah’s football players a brand new 2023 RAM truck. The event made a huge splash on the internet and was covered by ESPN, Bleacher Report, Forbes and other news outlets across the country. The deal itself is worth around $6 million, making it one of the largest NIL deals yet. Without NIL, none of our players would have the opportunity to receive these items.

The U also allows players to have their own brand in the campus store. If you simply walk around, you see player-branded shirts from football, basketball, baseball and other sports. Some of the profits from sales go to the players, which helps them build a brand with the assistance of the U. They also provide a store of just NIL gear, which promotes the players even more.

NIL helps keep fans entertained beyond the sport, as we can now see our favorite college athletes in commercials that we like. For example, Rising was featured in a comedic Mountain America skit with BYU reciever Kody Epps. Commercials like this help advertise the players as pro athletes, which helps build the culture of their respective sport in a college environment.

NIL has changed the landscape of college athletics forever. Utah’s approach provides a great number of resources to help these athletes maximize their potential earnings and marketing. With resources like the David Eccles School of Business and the Lassonde Institute, there are lots of ways they can benefit. Schools nationwide should take inspiration from what the University of Utah has done for NIL. Overall, the U has created a great position with NIL and has potential to grow.

 

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@lukeeskinner

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About the Contributor
Sam Garcia, Designer
(she/her) Sam Garcia is a junior studying Graphic Design and minoring in Computer Science. She has a bubbly and energetic personality. Loves drawing, painting, taking care of her plants, and getting shredded at the gym.

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