During a college football game between Oklahoma and SMU in December 1985, ABC broadcaster Jim Limpley broke the news that star Indiana basketball guard and Olympic gold medalist Steve Alford had been banned by the NCAA for a game against Kentucky to pose in Gamma. Was suspended for flouting the rules by giving. Phi Beta Sorority Calendar.
The proceeds from the sale of the calendar were not going into Alford’s pocket, but went to a sorority foundation in support of girls’ camps. This did not affect the NCAA in its ruling.
Giants announcer Keith Jackson’s response after Lampley’s report made clear his feelings about the NCAA and the Alford case.
“It’s ridiculous,” Jackson said. “That’s one of the problems they’ve got. Tiki-tacks wherever you turn.”
Forty years later, the organization that is the face and enforcement arm of college athletics is still trying to regulate what athletes can do with their names, images and likenesses in an environment where state laws abound and The lack of federal legislation has forced the schools. Navigate the murky waters of name, image and likeness, a term that was virtually unsaid 20 years ago.
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USA TODAY Sports investigates how two schools with some of the biggest brands in college football, Oklahoma and Ohio State, have taken a unique approach to handling the latest complex issues surrounding compensation for college athletes.
role of collective
The latest catchword in college athletics is collective, and depending on who you talk to collective is nothing but a fancy term for boosters and other parties that pool money in an effort to provide zero compensation to players.
Boosters have been around for decades but are now playing a major role in seeing that athletes are compensated for the billions of dollars they make to institutions.
Oklahoma and Ohio State use collectivism to ensure that whether you are a star player or a benchwarmer being part of the team means visibility to everyone. This includes getting the public, not just wealthy boosters, involved in their efforts.
One of Ohio State’s collectives is called the Columbus NIL Club, which gives fans a chance to ‘financially support Ohio State’s student-athletes and engage in the ultimate fan experience’ and describes itself as “athlete-led fan community”.
The Crimson and Cream Collective in Oklahoma is fan-operated, allowing a subscription-based donation service to support student-athletes, where funds are distributed equally among members of a specific team.
Charlie Grantham, associate professor and director of the Center for Sport Management at Seton Hall University, said that while schools are doing a service by helping athletes get compensated, they can do more and that it may be tempting to play for their programs. is in ,
Grantham said, “What they’re trying to do is use the name, image and likeness to matriculate into their program.” “The biggest thing they don’t understand is that this was a strategic move and they have to give something to the athletes because their backs are against the wall.”
business of nil
Void activities in athletic programs can be divided into two factions: internal, where the school contracts exclusively with any potential business entity, and external, where an outside source of funding and student-athlete deals together. Let’s work
There are two university staff in the country whose job title is to specifically deal with NIL. One of them is the former Oklahoma who is endorsing Rodney Anderson.
Anderson was drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals in the sixth round of the 2019 NFL Draft despite tearing his ACL during his senior season with the Sooners. The Bengals waived Anderson in August 2020.
“I was a little lost. I didn’t really know what would come my way because everyone tells you athletes have a backup plan,” the 26-year-old Anderson told USA Today Sports. Relying on connections from his college days, he ended up with Sooners Sports Properties, a joint venture with Learfield, the multimedia rights holder of the school.
Anderson is the manager of NIL Business Development and Operations for Oklahoma.
“I think the biggest misconception about student-athletes is that they are being paid and earning based on their reputation. Is it pay to play? And it’s not based on performance. , or based on minutes played, points scored, but it’s based on their reputation,” said Toby Baldwin, Oklahoma’s executive associate athletic director/name, image, and equality and operational advancement. “That’s why you get more attention over a Power Five school, a Top 25 school, because we have a bigger brand.”
Baldwin says part of the job is twofold: making sure athletes who are receiving sometimes potentially generational wealth are prepared and have the resources, and people helping them understand things like taxation and financial planning. Let’s help
“Staying up to date on the latest laws and educating businesses, as well as knowing what they can and can’t do, you know how it works, dealing with an athlete, what that process looks like and then making sure Let our partners know so that our student-athletes stay safe,” Anderson said.
While requests from every brand imaginable pour into his inbox, Oklahoma shies away from making bad deals for businesses including pornography, alcohol, marijuana and gambling.
“Just use your better judgment,” laughs Anderson when describing the questionable deals. “I feel like our model is sustainable. I feel like what we’re doing is safe for the athletes and we’re focusing more on their brand, not the cash thrown at them. Ultimately, Everybody wins.”
How deals are done through the university is a fairly simple process.
Most NIL deals involve the use of the school’s name or logo. If a company wants to use that intellectual property, Learfield and Anderson get involved, hence the intrinsic part of NIL.
If an athlete and company are not using the property and are making a private, or outside deal, the completed contract is uploaded online only, as long as it meets the standards set by the university. the compliance office approves that contract and is responsible for ensuring The athlete is providing services in exchange for promoting a product.
Each school controls how and when deals are made with potential boosters, collectives, and student-athletes, especially when it comes to the use of team specific logos, equipment, and slogans. Protection of brands is paramount in every school, so that there is no confusion that the school is endorsing a product that may not be in line with its values and ideals.
“A lot of brands, when they decide they want to make an initial deal, they want to move quickly,” said Kerry Hoyt, Ohio State’s senior associate athletics director. “So, it’s a lot of coordination and a lot of different units pitching in to make it work.”
Hoyt coached the Ohio State women’s gymnastics team for 13 years before joining the administrative side five years ago. He has additional responsibilities in sports administration and student-athlete development. It includes more than 1,000 student-athletes, 400 of whom are with at least one void deal. More than 1,200 deals were completed during the 2021-2022 academic year alone, with football, women’s ice hockey and women’s volleyball leading the way.
And because the athletic department is so outspoken — especially the football program that has consistently ranked in the top 10 over the past decade — deals that bring student-athletes into administration get extra scrutiny.
In the state of Ohio, meetings and compliance with attorneys is a weekly occurrence. The group reviews any new issues that come up and looks at each deal in terms of philosophy. If there is a question related to misperception, that potential deal will not move beyond that meeting, no matter how large the company.
“It’s been extremely interesting and challenging at times,” Hoyt said. “Trademarks and licensing have felt burdensome, just monitoring the use of our logo, compliance has played a major role in deals.”
Hoyt stressed that NIL’s education is just as important as the deals the university chooses to engage with.
“We have something called a circle of care. We have athletic trainers. We have mental health specialists, nutritionists and so many people who surround them. We see NIL as part of that circle of care. Let’s see,” Hoyt said. “We want to make it easier for brands to connect with our student-athletes. There’s been a lot of learning earlier in their lives, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think people are going to be better prepared when they leave Ohio State.”
As with any capitalist enterprise, some will be more prepared financially than others.
According to On3.com, Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud has a net valuation of $2.4 million, which ranks seventh among all high school and college athletes, below Heisman Trophy winners Bryce Young and Caleb Williams and high school star Arch Manning, who verbally committed. Texas
“People don’t recognize that for regular students at Ohio State, whether you play piano or are an artist, you always have the ability to monetize your name, image and likeness,” Hoyt said. “Student-athletes haven’t had the same opportunity, so it’s just leveling the playing field. It’s not a new concept, it’s brand new for athletes.
For Ohio State, if a company is interested in connecting with an athlete, they fill out a form asking simple questions, such as who they are interested in. But the most important question is whether he has a current partnership agreement with Ohio State Sports Properties. / Learfield IMG College.
After that it is up to the athlete and the company to come up with terms and how their partnership moves forward. The university is not involved unless the use of the facilities or equipment is required, usually for a photo or television commercial shoot.