College Athletes Already Preparing For The Merchandise After NCAA Supreme Court Decision


Universities are closed right now, but college athletes are getting to work for next season, and we don’t mean in the weight room.

After years and years of controversy and criticism over the NCAA’s insistence on amateur status, that is, prohibiting athletes from enjoying their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), the Court Supreme ruled that this practice violated US antitrust law.

There are still a few details to work out on the end of the NCAA, for example if it will be a consistent rule in Division I schools or left school by school or conference by conference, but the student- athletes are already looking for ways to use their status for financial gain.

University of Wisconsin Graham Mertz is said to have previously registered a trademark for a logo, which he could use on a variety of products in the same way just about any NFL player. (Think of Tom Brady’s “TB12” outfit or Marshawn Lynch’s “Beast Mode”.) Sure, Mertz might never reach that level of stardom in the NFL, but it’s even more of a reason to strike while iron is hot and its stock is high even beyond the city limits of Madison.

According to CBS Sports, Mertz’s trademark would cover “clothing and wearable clothing; namely shirts, sports caps and hats ”.

University of Oklahoma QB Spencer Rattler does something similar, playing on the fact that his last name lends itself to a pretty impressive logo design:

Where you are account

Part of the legal inconsistency is that some states allow student-athletes to take advantage of their NIL, but others do not. To this day, Florida schools allow it, and some use it as a recruiting tactic.


Think about how the top high school applicants select a school. In many cases, the biggest concern is the prestige of the program, the coach they will be working with and the chance to become a professional caliber player. Now, the ability to develop a personal brand plays a role in this decision.

The University of Central Florida already created a website to entice potential student-athletes to come to UCF with the aim of building a brand and make money whether they hit the pros or not.

“You have these players who have been playing football for four years and 99% of them will never be professional football players,” said legal analyst Steven Kramer. News 6 in Orlando. “They’re not going to make the NFL. Their careers end when they graduate or complete their academic career. If they are on a magazine cover or if there is a photo taken, they can be compensated for it.

UCF’s recruiting website, using the slogan “Your Brand Is Launched To Launch”, plays into the Orlando media market and the ability to develop a personal brand as a student-athlete more than it does not go down in the history of sports programs. Times are really changing.

This UCF program will also provide student-athletes with expert advice on building and maintaining a brand during their stay.

The missing piece

Many students have secondary problems. It’s just that most of them aren’t quarterbacks in the D1 schools that are televised across the country every week. UCLA quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has been selling merchandise like sweatshirts and hats with the slogan “Friends Over Fans” since March, racking up more than $ 10,000 in profits. However, due to previous NCAA rules, Thompson-Robinson was not allowed to use his starting QB status to increase sales.

Now it can, since California is also one of the states that allows it, starting today.

“It’s huge for a lot of athletes,” Thompson-Robinson told the Los Angeles Times. “I know, thanks to a lot of my teammates, that we’ve wanted something like this for a while. “

What it also does is create profitability for athletes outside of the mainstream big sports like soccer and basketball. If it was difficult to get into the NFL or the NBA, the chances of reaching the Olympics and becoming a name enough to live on endorsements are even rarer.

For athletes in sports like gymnastics, being able to combine your athletic personality and entrepreneurial spirit can make a huge difference to your own visibility on the world stage and build a personal brand when your competitive days are behind you.

Also at UCLA, gymnast Margzetta Frazier was already using her comedic and musical background, offering branded deals on social media featuring her partnerships. Because of the NCAA, however, she always had to refuse.

“I’m sure the girls missed out on so many opportunities where they could have made money, whether it was brands that wanted to work with them or [giving] private lessons or music videos, ”Frazier told the LA Times. “So we’ve done everything already, it’s just a matter of not getting paid for it. “

For some athletes, it’s just a matter of finally being able to use their name or number on something they’ve already done. But, for many others, varsity sport now offers an opportunity to monetize a personal brand from day one on campus. This might cause some athletes to stay longer than necessary before turning pro as they can stay and graduate while making money.

And for branded product companies, the local college just got a lot more potential customers on campus.

Some critics, such as Andrew Brandt, executive director of the Moorad Center for the Study of Sports Law at the University of Villanova, said the move could force universities to divert school advertising funds in favor of advertising. for athletics.

It probably won’t be as final or as ominous as Brandt’s “it’s going to happen” warning, but it is a possibility. Thus, it will be in the interests of distributors to be agile and to be attentive to the marketing plans of their higher education clients going forward.

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