“… just because you can make money from your likeness doesn’t mean you will.”

I’m sure some of you will see this piece as a sort of “a-ha!” moment, but I’m really not getting the point to it.

Some college athletes will benefit greatly from the NCAA’s modernization of rules allowing them to profit off their name, image and likeness.

Many, however, will not see much of an increase — if at all — in their bank account. The NCAA’s working group recommended to the organization’s Board of Governors to allow college athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness, but with certain guidelines, and “guardrails” are still being developed through feedback from college universities and conferences. Still, the implementation of the new rules appear to be on the fast track before the 2021 football season, and football programs across the country are already implementing training sessions to help prepare athletes for the possibilities that include pitfalls, harsh realities and potential success stories as they enter the business world as potential spokespeople and managers of their own personal brand.

Brand marketing consultant Jeremy Darlow has been hired by Georgia Tech and West Virginia in recent weeks to help educate players about how the impending “NIL” ruling will affect players. Sure, there is money to be made, but the vast majority of players are not in a position to capitalize.

“People on the fringe are going to come to school thinking I have an opportunity to get a shoe deal or an endorsement deal from this major brand, and that’s just not how it’s going to be, in my opinion,” Darlow told 247Sports. “It might be the Wild West a little bit at the beginning but once things settle down you’re going to see the same athletes signing deals that you would have seen (after college).”

I think he’s selling some kids a little short here — there are college athletes who are going to have an opportunity to monetize their social media skills but aren’t going to sign anything after college — but the larger question is, is every college athlete truly convinced they’re about to make their fortune with NIL?  I have a hard time believing that.

After all, haven’t y’all been regularly assuring us that the third-string offensive lineman is going to be extremely jealous of the star quarterback who gets the marketing glory?


Filed under It's Just Bidness

29 responses to ““… just because you can make money from your likeness doesn’t mean you will.”

  1. FisheriesDawg

    I’m not saying this to stop the NIL stuff, as I’m generally on board, but seeing 18 year old kids attempting to “build their brand” is almost surely going to be cringeworthy. I’m guessing the next generation of viral insults from rivals is going to be based on silly posturing by their players.

    A question: will Jimmy Rane give out 85 endorsement deals to YellaWood, or does he decide that having Auburn players of the face of the company will actually hurt sales?


    • Man, some of y’all are really obsessed with Jimmy Rane.

      It’s almost like Auburn’s won all those national titles lately instead of Alabama.


      • Cynical Dawg



      • FisheriesDawg

        It’s kind of like calling people a Nazi. You take the most extreme example you can as a caricature of what will actually happen.

        Now that Boone Pickens is dead, he’s the booster most likely to start making it rain across the roster.


      • Noonan

        He is worth $900 million, loves Auburn, and already advertises heavily during college football games. He will now be able to buy players for Auburn without breaking the rules. There are boosters like this at every school, he just happens to be very prominent in the SEC. By all means everyone should stop talking about him.


        • He already advertises heavily? Damn, game over. Jimmy Rane IS the boogey man.

          As you say, there are rich boosters everywhere. If Rane was such a spending freak, Auburn would already have the highest paid football coach in America and the Taj Mahal of facilities.

          The NCAA regulates boosters and that’s not likely to end. If having a rich backer was all it took to win, then Okie State would be awash in national title trophies. Deep breaths, people.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Whether it’s the type of eye glass wear a player has, ability to demonstrate the diving technique from the 5 meter board or proper foot work from the #2 ranked player on the womens tennis team, the fact an athlete has some bad ass thumbs and can work a video game player..there will be opportunities, a lot of individual time/effort will have to be put forth to realize a return…the first few years maybe tough sledding, but hopefully calm down to where student athletes will have better direction


  2. There aren’t going to be many players that make money from their NLIs. Most people know that. It will be like a bunch of guys in professional sports who don’t have endorsement deals other than a shoe contract. I’m even betting there will be entire teams that don’t have someone with a NLI agreement beyond some social media payments (cough, cough … Fech … cough, cough).


  3. Gaskilldawg

    My experience living in a small city teaches me that a local HS star who gets a college scholarship is enough of a hometown hero that the local insurance agent or car dealer would pay a modest amount for him to stand in an ad for the business and the local mall would hire him to sign autographs in the mall.
    It wouldn’t be enough to buy a new Porsche but could be enough to be able to afford a little nicer restaurant to take dates.
    I see that as a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Normaltown Mike

      This is what I see happening. The kid from Tifton who signs with UGA and rides the bench for 3 years will still get a loaner car and be on a billboard in Tifton. This is good.


      • Union Jack

        Exactly. There will be some who get a shock when the stacks of cash don’t roll in but at the same time there will be lots of these athletes who make some much needed pocket change.


    • This is exactly it. The people that think that rich boosters are just gonna shell out tons of money on an investment that has a terrible ROI don’t understand how those boosters got wealthy in the first place.


      • No, no, no, you don’t understand.

        I believe someone recently won a Nobel prize in economics for asserting that normal market behavior doesn’t exist anywhere in the world of college football. There are many examples of boosters who have exhausted their entire fortunes and wound up in the poor house… now, where did I put that list… I know it’s somewhere…

        I’ll get back to you on that.


    • Got Cowdog

      Came here to say the same.


  4. ks

    who cares? the fact that they have the opportunity is what matters. there’s litearlly no downside to the student-athlete. unless the ‘building a brand is cringeworthy’ comment is supposed to be a downside – but what do you think every other teenager not tied to NCAA rules does on a daily basis…


  5. 123fakest

    I wonder if Darlow likes the #404 brand at Yech?


  6. Rodrigo really missed a window here. That kid could have – and should have – realized a windfall. #respectthespecs.

    A forward-thinking coach can really use this to recruit, especially with an organized approach to local businesses. Give these kids an opportunity to show up at a car dealership and sign autographs during the off-season. Most of these kids come from meager backgrounds. Hell, this might even make some kids stay in school longer, rather than making the jump to the NFL before they are ready.


    • Union Jack

      Hence the reason so many schools are already hiring marketing consultants to work with their student athletes. Hopefully McGarity and co have RocNation and Endeavor on retainer.


  7. Huntindawg

    I think we may be underestimating college football fans. I can easily see groups of boosters forming outside the structure of any athletic department, pooling their resources, and “donating” for their leadership to provide endorsements to pay for a number one recruiting class. Who thinks your typical D1 P5 school couldn’t easily come up with several $million from boosters to pay for that class?

    Let’s see – $2m divided by (let’s say) 24 recruits = $83k each – divided up by however the coach actually wants it divided up. I don’t know why somebody would say “it makes me feel better” to call these recruits professional athletes under this scenario. I’m just finally acknowledging the full scope of the very near-term reality of college football.

    I’m starting to think an anti-trust exemption would be a good thing for college football.


    • I think we may be underestimating college football fans.

      You mean folks who are refusing more and more to shell out a couple thousand bucks for season tickets are now going to spend almost 100 grand year after year? Sure, man, whatever you say.


      • Huntindawg

        What do you mean “spend almost $100 grand year after year?” I’m sure a dedicated group of boosters could raise $2m a year from the fan base without much trouble for a legitimate national title shot – which is what consecutive top ranked recruiting classes bring.

        I see what you are saying about season tickets, but that decreasing demand is likely a result of a combination of factors other than fan interest/dedication – as you have pointed out numerous times. I think paying players directly to join their chosen team is a different product entirely.

        I wonder how long this is going to last anyway before schools are almost required to pay the players directly (and openly) if they want a competitive team.


    • I think the market will eventually reach a status quo that will look a lot like what recruiting looks today, with the only difference being that the kids get a piece of the action. To me, that’s the only morally appropriate outcome.


  8. James A Mercer Jr

    what’s to stop a coach and well endowed booster from forming a pact to bring the recruit aboard and give the kid a delayed endorsement package once he’s at the old alma mater?