As the new world of NIL opens up for NCAA players, in which they can cash in on their name, image and likeness, things are evolving quickly.
At HBCU Jackson State, Antwan Owens signed a hair care deal at midnight and so did several other players.
At Fresno State, twin sisters Hanna and Haley Cavinder, who play basketball and who are big on TikTok and Instagram, got a deal.
LSU’s Olivia Dunne, a gymnast, is leveraging her massive social media following and will soon have quite a large bank account.
But will it just mean schools like Kentucky, Notre Dame and Alabama will hoard all the meaningful talent?
Not according to Andy Schwartz, a sports economist who spoke to Yahoo’s Dan Wetzel and who thinks that “It’s impossible for the competitive balance to get worse. The current amateurism model is in no way inducing competitive balance and it certainly isn’t encouraging it...If you undervalue something, it is easy to hoard it because it’s cheaper...It will almost certainly be more profitable for some players to be the big fish in a smaller pond.”
Duke Basketball has not yet weighed in but with its massive social media presence and how brilliantly it is managed, the Blue Devils will be heard from.
To be clear, Duke’s social media platforms are not those of the players. However, it puts them out there and should allow them to build their own social media profiles whic, as we’ve seen, can quickly become lucrative. One estimate we saw estimated that each follower is worth .80 cents.
So for Zion Williamson with his 5,000,000 Instagram follower, that would have worked out to potential income, just from Instagram, of roughly $4,000,000. As always, math here is an adventure but he would have done well for a college kid.
One of the things that’s going to be interesting is simply focus. The quarterback for San Jose State, Nick Starkel, had a blunt warning for his suddenly entrepreneurial teammates:
“If you’re missing practice for a photoshoot because you got a deal with a brand you’re working on, I will rip you a new one. In the end, it is America. It is a free country. Do what you desire. But a PSA to my teammates … I do not expect you to let it distract you. If it does, we’re gonna have a serious problem.”
Former Duke star JJ Redick said he’s not sure he would have handled NIL that well: “From 2004-2006, I would have made a bag on NIL endorsements. Sadly- I would have blown it all on Natty Light and Lacoste polos (with the collars popped, of course). “