By Aristides Costeas, Former NCAA Student-Athlete
The newly established NIL (Name Image Likeness) Regulations for NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) collegiate student-athletes, regarding partnerships and sponsorships, have created exciting times for current and aspiring collegiate student-athletes, due to the wide range of opportunities opening up.
However, one must be careful which partners or sponsors they choose to represent and be affiliated with, since this can greatly affect their professional profile and image, potentially following them for years after their athletic careers come to an end.
Choosing partners and sponsors wisely is crucial in enhancing the professional image and reputation of the collegiate student-athlete, whilst benefiting them financially. Athletes should keep in mind that there is life after sports, therefore, choosing partners and sponsors must be done strategically to make the most out of the NIL benefits.
The bigger the fanbase and the greater the outreach, the more will be the financial benefits. Collegiate student-athletes need to choose partners and sponsors that match their athletic outlook and are in line with their values, ideals and principles. The message that they are passing on to the general public, through what they are promoting, is one that they should be able to stand behind. Remember that building a brand can take years, but one wrong move can destroy it in an instant.
The wrong choice of partners and sponsors may damage athletes’ professional images and may hinder both their athletic and professional success.
It goes without saying that collegiate student-athletes must avoid, at all costs, affiliating with products that are prohibited by NCAA Regulations and are not appropriate for the image of an athlete, such as alcohol, drugs, and tobacco. Affiliating with the wrong partners and sponsors will not only damage the image of a collegiate student-athlete but can also jeopardize their NCAA eligibility and lead to the loss of their privileges to participate in any collegiate athletic and/or academic events.
Furthermore, collegiate student athletes should try to choose partners and sponsors, whom they feel they can trust and with whom they can have an open, two-way communication. These will help form the basis of a long-lasting relationship, that is beneficial to them both and which complements the athlete’s professional career.
Athletes should also ensure that they have the right professional advisors to guide and support them before making any decisions. They need to know what they are getting into, and always read the fine print before committing to a partnership or sponsorship. Carefully assessing and evaluating what the potential sponsor represents, as well as what their reputation has been over the years, through appropriate research, can prove to be very beneficial.
In conclusion, NIL partners and sponsors have recently become a huge part of collegiate sports and there are many resulting benefits for collegiate student-athletes. However, every student-athlete must choose their affiliations and representations carefully and wisely to enjoy these benefits to their maximum effect, without their having any negative influences or effects on their careers and valuable images.
It is, therefore, crucial that every student-athlete is well informed about the new NIL Regulations before signing any sponsorship and/or partnership deal, to avoid potential traps that may hinder their careers, whilst making the most of the great opportunities that the exploitation of their NIL rights can provide.
For further information and advice on this important subject, log onto ‘www.moneysmartathlete.com’