Those of you who insist that allowing college athletes to monetize their NIL rights will cause the college sports world to devolve into a game of unchecked boosters throwing sums of money at the privileged few, while the rest of the peons get the back of the market’s hand and are forced to stew over the unfairness of it all… well, as Spock once put it,
There’s a whole new social media world you aren’t getting.
When the NCAA adopts NIL rights, which appears inevitable, it’s possible some top-tier athletes could earn more than $1 million annually in endorsement deals, said Casey Schwab, CEO of Altius Sports Partners, a consulting firm focused on NIL legislation for athletes, coaches and schools, adding that the benefits won’t be limited to big-sport superstars.
A new study from Temple University’s School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management found the potential for NIL revenue, on average, was actually greater for female college athletes than men, and athletes outside the revenue sports of football and men’s basketball could still cultivate valuable brands.
“[College athletes] are really engaging a specific and targeted audience from a demographic perspective,” said Dr. Thilo Kunkel, the author of the Temple study. “They’re becoming really effective endorsers — and maybe it’s not the next national shampoo commercial, but it’s companies more focused on getting their brand out there and connecting with an audience.”
Kunkel’s study showed that athletes outside the revenue sports of football and men’s basketball could still earn about $5,000 per year with just 10,000 followers on various social media platforms. Engagement is critical, so the value would depend more on content and frequency of new posts than actual on-field accomplishments.
Even athletes with smaller social media followings would still have some value, Schwab said. He calls this the “in kind” group, athletes who might be able to snag a few free pizzas at a local restaurant in exchange for posting a photo with the owner to Twitter.
For most of these athletes, their college years are going to be the only time they’ll be able to maximize their NIL worth. For an organization that invented and relentlessly promoted the “There are over 400,000 NCAA student-athletes, and most of us will go pro in something other than sports” line, you’d think the NCAA would be on top of this. So should we.