Are student athletes social media ready for new sponsorship opportunities under NIL?

Written by Lexie on July 31, 2021

Image of a footballer doing a photoshoot for Name Image and Likeness sponsorship on his social media

The NCAA’s June decision on Name, Image, and Likeness has changed the game for student-athletes and their ability to earn a profit while in college. Social media is undoubtedly going to be the primary way that these athletes monetize their brand. But if they aren’t ‘social media’ ready, the consequences could be costly.

The past year marked one of the most challenging and unique years as the Covid-19 pandemic changed virtually everyone’s daily lives and disrupted nearly every industry. For sports in particular, the financial implications were enormous and the news of cancelled games and the sights of empty stadiums spoke volumes.

For the nearly half a million NCAA student-athletes, the impact on sports this year was felt deeply. Despite the many challenges and adversity that these students faced--no fans in attendance, virtual team meetings, frequently changing protocols, outbreaks among teammates and friends-- there was one bright spot for student-athletes that came on July 1, 2021.

Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL)

On June 30th, the NCAA Board of Directors voted to approve an interim NIL policy that began allowing college athletes to profit off of their Name, Image, and Likeness without forfeiting their eligibility. Within the very first minutes of July 1st, college athletes began signing contracts. However, despite these changes from the NCAA, athletes must still adhere to state regulations, which will continue to evolve in the months to come. For a quick check on where different states stand, you can view the data here. Dan Murphy of ESPN has also helped unclutter the cloud of confusion that still exists around NIL in his article from earlier this month.

What type of endorsements will athletes sign?

As more college athletes sign deals, we will gain a better understanding of the types of contracts and opportunities available, the brands most engaged with college athletes, and which teams will garner recruiting power as a result of their NIL support for their athletes.

For some, opportunities might include profiting off of their own training clinics, in-person appearances, or branded merch. Others might partner with local restaurants and shops and some might sign partnerships with global brands. It has been widely reported that Alabama Quarterback, Bryce Young, has already brought in close to $1 million worth of deals. While the landscape of NIL endorsements is still a guessing game for most, one powerful tool that all athletes can leverage is their social media.

Whether it’s on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or other platforms, student-athletes will use social media to promote their own brands and promote sponsored content. Social media should be an asset for these athletes -- a free tool that can easily reach thousands, if not millions, with the click of a button. However, as we have seen in the headlines, time and time again, social media can damage an athletes’ reputation when old, harmful posts resurface.

Are your athletes’ social media accounts ‘NIL ready’?

Prior to utilizing social media as a money-making tool, student-athletes should take the time to ensure their online persona is a reflection of who they are, what they stand for, and their values. Athletes should review their historical posts, old tweets, and photos to ensure that they have removed any damaging content that might resurface and cost them partnerships and NIL opportunities.

Although it seems easy to do, this can be a time-consuming task and often times isn’t done until it’s too late. Every year, we see instances when an athlete's accomplishments are overshadowed or opportunities diminished due to old posts. You might remember situations like Kyler Murray apologizing for old tweets hours after winning the Heisman Trophy or Jerry Jeudy’s tweets resurfacing just after being drafted to the NFL.

In the new NIL environment, there will inevitably be increased engagement with athletes on social media and it is only a matter of time before more examples emerge. Social media will be a great resource for student-athletes as long as they avoid costly headlines.

Give your athletes peace of mind with yourself.online

Cleaning up social media profiles is an important step your athletes need to take to ensure and protect their future opportunities and we are here to help. With yourself.online, your athletes can make the right first impression with brands by removing any possibly damaging content from their accounts. Our tool quickly analyzes social media profiles, finds photos and posts that may be harmful to a student-athletes’ online persona, and lets the individual delete and archive with our easy-to-use tool.

Contact us to learn more about how yourself.online can help your team

For coaches, athletic directors, and team leaders, we offer discounted pricing, on-boarding support, and webinars to support your athletes and teams with managing their online persona. Learn more here or email partnerships@yourself.online to learn about our pre-season discounts.