A new NCAA rule for using name, image and likeness now allows for student-athletes to earn compensation from sponsorship deals.
Athletics Director Tim Hall said this new policy has been working its way up the chain for a while, and that he’s glad it’s finally happening.
“I think it’s the right thing to do for our student-athletes. I think anybody who does the work that we do — educating young people to be the future leaders of tomorrow — wants to be able to have our student-athletes … have the same opportunities that a general student would have,” Hall said.
Non-athlete students tend to be able to use their name, image and likeness for whatever they like, and Hall said he believes that it’s only fair for student-athletes to be able to do the same.
“Let’s say there’s a student who is a musician and she’s a violin player, she’s a very accomplished violin player,” Hall said. “A company that makes and produces violins says, ‘Hey, we want you to sponsor our product. We want to pay you to endorse our violins,’ [and] a general student has the ability to enter into an agreement to do that. As a student-athlete, you weren’t able to do that because you were an amateur athlete.”
Katie Zingg, the associate athletic director for compliance, said she believes this opens up many new opportunities for student-athletes.
“They can promote businesses, promote their own business [and] get paid for things like autographs, appearances and things like that,” Zingg said.
While most forms of promotion are allowed, Zingg said the policy on uniforms will not be altered and students will not be allowed to promote during a competition.
“The student-athlete would not be able to enter into anything that contradicts with a current university contract. A student-athlete wouldn’t be able to enter into an agreement to wear Nike during a competition because that’s in direct conflict with our Adidas contract,” Zingg said.
She said there is almost no limit to who a student-athlete can partner with, but the student must receive fair market value for the work done.
“If a student was approached by Nike, Adidas, Pepsi or whoever … that’s fine,” Zingg said. “The only limitations within the state law are things like alcohol companies, tobacco companies, sports betting, gambing, cannabis, adult entertainment [and] those types of things.”
Senior Women’s Basketball player Mikala Hall said she already has a partnership with the Wilson basketball company, and hopes to stay with them for a while.
“I’m still getting used to everything. I’m trying to set things up with other companies [and] rejecting, accepting and knowing what to spend my time with. Right now, I’m trying to figure out all the rules and everything and make sure everything is good with [Wilson],” Mikala Hall said.
Mikala Hall said there are numerous other companies she is considering for partnerships that are involved with things she likes.
“I kind of want to work with water companies [because] I drink a lot of water … and of course Adidas since that’s who [SIUE is partnered with], and eventually Gatorade. I feel like this is kind of like a new beginning for everybody and so having the opportunity to be with anybody is exciting,” Mikala Hall said.
Despite all of the benefits, Zingg said she believes there are still things student-athletes need to be careful of while getting involved in promotional contracts.
“There are certainly some concerns out there about individuals out there trying to take advantage of the college student-athlete population,” Zingg said. They’re turning over their name, image and likeness to someone else to use to promote products and things — just the vulnerability that opens up [is a concern].”