Last summer, the NCAA announced that U.S. college athletes are now allowed to earn money from their “name, image or likeness” (NIL). The long-awaited announcement does not enable universities or conferences to pay athletes directly (because why pay people when they’re making you millions of dollars?). But it does pave the way for athletes (and related agents and representatives) to find creative ways to profit through NIL deals.
So far, we’ve primarily seen ordinary sponsorship deals being announced. But let’s be honest: The NIL era is going to get good and weird, and we have some suggestions that could help it along.
1. Sell Branded Onesies
You know what you want to do when you finish working out? Zip yourself into a fluffy, branded onesie and laze about for a while. Or at least you could sell that idea, right? Let’s just say if all 6’7”, 350 pounds of Alabama’s NFL-bound offensive tackle Evan Neal had zipped himself up in a Bama-red onesie with his number on the back, he’d have made himself some cash.
2. Sell Completely Ordinary NFTs
Okay fine, so some athletes have already beaten us to the punch on this one. In fact, Yahoo went as far as to say that the college athlete NFT market is “booming.” But we’re not talking about highlights and sports cards here. We’re curious how much popular athletes can get away with selling completely ordinary actions as NFTs. Could Gonzaga basketball star Drew Timme sell a clip of himself taking a large bite out of an apple for $200? No, really…. Couldn’t he?
3. Play The Pro Poker Circuit During The Offseason
NFL legend (and Georgia Bulldog) Richard Seymour may have waited until retirement to dominate on the felt, but nobody said anyone has to wait that long. What’s to stop, say, CFP-winning quarterback and current Georgia Bulldog Stetson Bennett from hopping on the poker circuit? The cool thing is, he can be complete garbage at poker. He’ll draw the cameras regardless, and if he reaches a deal to slap a poker brand logo on his hat, that attention will be worth a lot.
4. Join Michael Jordan In The Metaverse
…. Okay fine so we have another virtual idea. Whatever, the world’s turning into the Matrix, or something. At any rate, NCAA stars are already getting involved with Michael Jordan’s recently-launched metaverse-oriented platform Heir (not hair — he doesn’t have any). So we’re kind of stealing this idea from, well, reality. We… um… also don’t quite know what it is yet, exactly. But NIL + Michael Jordan backing + metaverse NFT nonsense sounds like a good earning opportunity, right?
5. Start A Paid Podcast
Everyone has one already, right? And thanks to NIL, now up-and-coming stars don’t have to worry about FOMO. Who knows? We could even host a few college podcasts right here on our site. So long as some advertisers will do the actual paying….