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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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NIL policy marks new era for college athletics

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FILE

Following the NCAA ruling made on July 1, collegiate athletes can now profit off of their names, images and likeness. 

Collegiate sports history was made on July 1, 2021 with a new NCAA interim names, images and likenesses, or NIL, policy granting student-athletes the opportunity to benefit from their name, image and likeness in all NCAA sports.

Due to state law, Texas collegiate athletes were able to accept endorsements when calendars flipped to July. Texas joins Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Georgia, New Mexico and Florida  in its athletes being able to capitalize on NIL deals. 

On Friday, May 28the Texas State Senate approved Senate Bill 1385, which allowed Texas A&M to create its own program titled AMPLIFY. The initiative will assist A&M student-athletes in successfully branding themselves and growing their platforms.

A&M Director of Athletics Ross Bjork said AMPLIFY will provide student-athletes with the resources to grow their brands and position themselves to have off-field success. 

“Our new AMPLIFY platform provides Aggie athletes with the right tools and resources so that they are educated, well-informed and can capitalize to their full potential,” Bjork told 12thMan.com. “Our job is to put our student-athletes in the best position for success on and off the fields of play, and AMPLIFY helps them reach their goals.”

AMPLIFY will give athletes in-class education and resources to improve the athletes’ branding.  It will also have specific programs such as evaluating job opportunities, creating custom content and social media analysis, and much more.

A&M’s national exposure is already high as a member of the Southeastern Conference and the SEC Network. Combining that with AMPLIFY will put A&M athletes directly in the spotlight as they represent a new, revised era of college athletics. 

Some A&M football players have already lined up endorsements such as junior tight end Jalen Wydermyer, junior safety Demani Richardson, junior running back Isaiah Spiller and junior defensive lineman DeMarvin Leal. 

Spiller tweeted that he has become a partner with Raising Cane’s as a Caniac Ambassador while Demani Richardson became a client with Fans Meet Idols, a personalized social media video message service. 

Wydermyer himself signed a deal with Vanguard Sports Group, a full-service sports agency, and recently held a meet-and-greet in College Station, sponsored by State Farm Insurance. Leal announced he joined another sports agency, Ballengee Group. 

Richardson and Spiller were each paid $10,000 for a series of interviews at an NIL event hosted by the fan site TexAgs and sponsored by GreenPrint Real Estate Group in early July. The event is a quick result of the revised NIL rules as players like Spiller, Wydermyer and Richardson have signed at least two endorsement deals since the rule changes went into effect. 

“This took a lot of work in order to make sure everything was on the up-and-up and by the book in terms of the new NIL rules and this uncharted territory, but it was worth it to see how excited the guys were for the opportunity,” TexAgs co-owner and executive editor Billy Liucci posted on the website.

Fred Spiller, father of Isaiah Spiller and former A&M tight end, said this summer, especially the month of July, has been chaotic with all the changes, and it’s a new experience for their family as well as other NCAA student-athletes.

It’s been crazy, it really has,”Fred said to San Antonio Express-News. “With all the [offers] coming through, we’re trying to see what’s a good deal and what’s not a good deal. This is all new to us.”

Fred said he and Isaiah have leaned on Brad Barnes and the A&M athletics compliance department in the process’s early stages to help them navigate Isaiah’s brand, from receiving an endorsement offer to accepting it. 

“Every deal we’ve gotten or we think about doing, I have a group text with [Barnes],” Fred said to San Antonio Express-News. “[A&M has] an [online] portal to go through, to fill out every NIL opportunity and let compliance see it and make sure it’s OK. They let you know the guidelines.”

Fred also said he and Isaiah have been careful in picking out opportunities because they want all of the focus and energy to be put on the upcoming season.

“I don’t want him to do too much,” Fred said to San Antonio Express-News. “I want him to focus on the season and doing what he has to do this summer for the season. We’re kind of being picky and not just doing everything that jumps out.”

Meanwhile junior running back and wide receiver Ainias Smith is putting his own twist on ways athletes are utilizing the rule changes. He tweeted that he will be giving each of his teammates a percentage of the profits he receives from his own NIL endorsements throughout the season.

But with states having differing laws as it relates to student-athlete compensation, it remains to be seen if or when a more permanent NIL policy will be created. This is a result of it only being progressed through further discussions between the NCAA and U.S. Congress, NCAA President Mark Emmert said

“With the variety of state laws adopted across the country, we will continue to work with Congress to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level,” Emmert said. “The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve.”

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