NIL Revolution: How Louisiana's Athletes Thrive in the New Era of College Sports Profits
Name, Image, & Likeness, also known as NIL, has been legal for college athletes to profit off of for over two years.
The NCAA previously restricted athletes from profiting off their NIL due to their self-defined “principle of amateurism,” believing that players should instead rely on their “love of the game.” Despite only 60% athletes receiving a tuition scholarship, administrators turned college sports into a multibillion dollar industry– bringing in $19 billion annually.
After decades of spending those millions in legal fees to prevent monetary compensation for college athletes, the NCAA changed their tune after their unanimous loss before the United States Supreme Court in the Alston case.
The doubters of this legal update said that only the top 1% of athletes in high revenue sports would get deals, or that women’s sports would be left behind. Fortunately, none of this has proven to be true.
Louisiana is the prime example of this. Three female LSU athletes are in the top 20 of athletes with the highest NIL valuations. Livvy Dunne, a gymnast, ranks no. 3 with a $3.2 valuation; Angel Reese, national basketball champ, ranks no. 8 with a $1.7 valuation; and Flau’jae Johnson, another national basketball champ, ranks no. 19 with a $1.1 valuation.
LSU is responsible, in part, for the success of their athletes in the NIL world. Shortly after the NCAA was forced to change its policies, LSU created a program aptly named “NILSU.”
NILSU works in lock-step with the alumni network and life skills department to help provide education and connections for athletes. Their intention with this program is to help players develop strong personal brands, as well as build a professional network for their future beyond college sport. LSU certainly hit the ground running when it came to capitalizing on NIL deals for their athletes, leaving the rest of the NCAA in the dust.
It’s hard to predict the future of NIL in college sports. Will it include contracts to players, or minimum and maximum salaries like other professional sports?
One thing is certain -- NIL is here to stay, whether you like it or not.