ORLANDO, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Athliance, a premier Sports Management and NCAA Software company, reflects on their first semester of helping student-athletes, schools, and brands navigate an unprecedented fall of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) in the NCAA.
Athliance’s First Semester:
Ahead of the NCAA’s passing of NIL, Athliance worked closely with university & college athletic departments to design a proprietary opportunity management application and education resource providing schools and their athletes the tools and knowledge they need to disclose and monitor NIL opportunities.
Athliance began their testing program back in February 2021 with partnerships including Georgetown, Kansas, Arizona, and Boston College. The company met with these schools’ compliance departments every week throughout 2021. Now Athliance has expanded to colleges/universities at every level–in Division 1, working with schools in Football Bowl Subdivision and Football Championship Subdivision, Division 2, Division 3, and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).
Athliance has been uniquely plugged into events over the last few months due to their relationship with compliance officers and their role as an educating and reporting platform directly assisting student-athletes with deals. Some highlights and figures from Athliance’s 5,500 student-athletes in the first semester of NIL include:
- On average, student-athletes made around $290 per deal, with social media posts the most popular type of deal.
- The athletes in Division 1 made on average $544 per deal and $65 per deal in Division 2 and Division 3 combined.
- Expected to be a lucrative group, for the first semester of NIL most eyes were on Division 1 football players who matched expectations making $987 per deal, far above the average for other athletes in their division.
- For the fall semester, both men and women took advantage of NIL. Among Athliance’s total amount of deals, 53.5% of the deals were from men vs 46.5% from women.
- However, there is a gender gap with female athletes averaging $245 per deal, significantly less than male athletes who made $327 per deal.
- Reinforcing just how digitally native these Gen Z athletes are and how loyal they are to Apple, a whopping 98% of student-athletes utilize the app via iPhone vs. Android.
- Leaning into the “Image” portion of NIL, the most popular types of NIL deals were #1 “Social Media” and #2 “Photo, Video, & Film,” taking advantage of Gen Z’s influence on social media platforms.
“Student-athletes across every athletic division in the US are taking part in opportunities,” says Peter Schoenthal, CEO of Athliance. “The team at Athliance is proud of what we are building, and we know that when those regulations do eventually come down, we will be positioned to provide the best compliance product available to the masses with an ideal solution to tackle NIL disclosure management and education.”
NIL’s First Semester:
College athletics changed forever on July 1st, 2021, when Name, Image, Likeness went live. However, there was a lack of national standard guidelines on how college athletes can monetize their fame, creating a “wild west” scenario with a complicated web of national, state, and school laws surrounding NIL.
In the initial months, the industry primarily focused on so-called “poster children” of NIL: seniors and “super” seniors taking advantage of one last chance to monetize their collegiate fame, superstars who were always expected to bring in big deals. While high performing student-athletes generated interest, brands quickly learned marketability drives NIL, not performance. Some of the most buzzworthy deals have come from athletes with a massive social media presence, like Fresno State’s Cavinder twins, basketball players with 3.6 million TikTok followers, and Louisiana State University’s Olivia Dunne, a gymnast with 4.7 million TikTok followers.
As the months progressed, a lack of rules created a shift in what NIL is all about. Over the past month, several booster-led initiatives are creating crystal clear inducements to lure top talent to schools with deep pockets. A recent example is the University of Texas initiative promising to pay offensive linemen $50k per year in addition to their scholarships to suit up for the Longhorns.
Step one was letting the market come to the student-athletes. In the upcoming semesters, student-athletes should be smartening up, now that they know what NIL actually entails. In the spring semester, D2 and D3 average deal sizes are expected to go up as student-athletes learn creative ways to earn NIL opportunities through camps, lessons, and clinics as they learn how to creatively utilize marketplace platforms and local business that aren’t driven by boosters.
“Coming out of the first semester of NIL and the recent NCAA Convention, we’ve learned is that this is just the beginning for student athletes,” adds Schoenthal. “We believe that Collectives become the most used platforms. Currently, student-athletes, fans, local businesses, and alumni do not know where to go to engage in NIL deals at particular schools. Collectives, if done right, solve this problem by having school specific platforms where all supporters and athletes can go to profit from their NIL. Universities themselves should not have involvement in these collectives because of potential Title IX implications, which make disclosure of these deals even more paramount.”
Athliance’s proprietary NIL education and opportunity management software empowers compliance departments to operate more efficiently in the new world of college athletics. Their tools and resources allow Universities to maintain current staff levels by automating the communication and workflow of every single opportunity presented to student-athletes, start-to-finish. Their solution mitigates NIL risks and protects scholarships, sponsorships, and post-season appearances. Furthermore, their real-time reporting provides valuable data and insights for marketing and recruiting purposes.