Many have debated for years whether or not college athletes should be paid. All that changed June 11 as the Supreme Court ruled against the NCAA in a landmark antitrust case that specifically challenged the association’s ability to have national limits on benefits for athletes.
Because of the ruling the NCAA quickly responded by adopted rule changes that will at least temporarily get rid of restrictions that previously prohibited all college athletes from making money. The guidelines provided by the NCAA leave a considerable amount of gray area for schools to sort through and set up a system that will create different rules and opportunities for athletes.
One of the biggest changes to come from the ruling is in relation to the NCAA being unable to restrict the amount of money athletes can generate from their name, image, and likeness. NIL, as it is being called, will allow athletes the opportunity to make money by selling their name, image and likeness rights while playing in college.
Coaches, athletic directors and more specifically compliance directors throughout the country have been scrambling to keep up with the latest changes and relay them to the student athletes.
Schools like the University of Miami have already caught national attention with the announcement by American Top Team to commit $540,000 to their current 90 football players over the next year for a total of $6,000 per player.
While many of the high-profile Power-5 Conference schools may have similar situations on the horizon, Georgia Southern athletic director Jared Benko is having to deal with the situation as well, albeit on a smaller scale.
“With COVID this past year we have learned that you have to navigate many times on the fly and that is what we are doing here,” said Benko. “After the decision we had to determine how we can best help and guide our student athletes. We put out an FAQ to all student athletes last week, but with this constantly changing we will have to put out another very soon.”
Keith Roughton heads up the Georgia Southern compliance department and is busy getting daily updates in regard to NIL issues while assistant AD Chris Davis has been the liaison with the Sun Belt Conference.
Among the new issues student athletes may have to worry about is the taxation that comes with earning money through the NIL. Another slippery slope is just who exactly student athletes will be allowed to promote.
“We have to be able to let students understand how their possible income could impact receiving a Pell Grant or how to file taxes,” said Benko. “Thankfully we are already doing some of this through our APEX program. Obviously, there will be guidelines as to things we will not permit with our brand and how the student athlete's decisions can affect their brand as well as the University. The good thing is we feel we have the right people in place to help them with these decisions.”
Many Georgia Southern student athletes have already opened themselves up on social media to the opportunity to profit from their name, image and likeness. Offensive lineman Brian Miller already has a deal from a protein bar which he will be promoting very soon.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Miller. “I started a YouTube page and a Twitch account to promote my gaming. There is also the ability to do sponsorships, which I am excited to be a part of. I have one coming up soon and hope to get a few more as well. Football and school still come first but this opens other doors as well.”
Other Georgia Southern football players are hoping to use the latest decision to help promote their interests off the field. For senior linebacker Todd Bradley-Glenn that means promoting his construction company and his love for fishing.
“I have an Instagram page me and a couple other players started that promotes our love for fishing and I would love to have an opportunity to promote something along those lines,” said Bradley-Glenn. “I also started my own small construction company and if I could sell or promote tools or something like that or just promote by business, I feel this is a great way to do that.”
Eagle defensive lineman Gavin Adcock is one of a few players who have been signed on as official Barstool Athletes. He is also pursuing a music career and feels like the NIL decision came at the right time to help him as he will be releasing his first single soon.
“I have reached out to a few people through direct messages and email about sponsorship opportunities,” said Adcock. “I am about to record my first single and I hope to use my social media platform to promote that as well. This came at the perfect time for what I am doing. School and football will always come first but this is something that can help me with life after football.”
Adcock’s recording of “Ain’t No Cure” will be available on Spotify, Pandora iTunes and Youtube and he can be found on Instagram at Gavinadcockmusic on Twitter @GavinAdcock and TikTock Gavinadcockmusic. Bradley Glenn can be found @tbg11_ as well as @tbgconstructionllc_ and @dirtysouth_anglers while Brian Miller is on Instagram @the_official_b.millz.