NIL Myth: NIL is Only for the Top Athletes

spry nil myth only for top athletes

It just isn’t true, plain and simple. While the headlines may love to highlight an NIL deal with a star athlete, most NIL opportunities will be on the small side. Think camps and clinics, cameo appearances, autographs, local business promo, etc. NIL is for EVERYONE! It just takes an entrepreneurial spirit and a bit of hard work to get your NIL business up and going.


Why do people think this is only for well-known student-athletes?

Popular Student-Athletes get more media coverage 

Just because athletes are covered in the media doesn’t mean that they are closing on NIL deals.  Smaller businesses are looking to connect with and start deals with NIL athletes who are known in the community. It might be the hometown hero or the out of town athlete’s who shine in their college town.

Trending Student-Athletes have a bigger social following/presence

Having a large social media presence does affect deal opportunities, however there are ways to grow online presence therefore opening doors to sponsorships.  And followers don’t have to be other market influencers.  As mentioned above, small businesses need outreach on their local market and sponsoring college athletes presents access to the younger community. 


This is myth because:

Most NIL athlete deals are smaller deals

The splashy big dollar deals are awesome, and they will keep NIL in the news and making headlines but those deals are few and far between.  The real NIL success story lies in the lesser known deals.  It might be free lunch at a local deli in return for 1 social media post per week or even a small cash payment but that is where the deals are happening.  Athletes who are headed home for the holidays can coordinate camps and charge a fee without worry.  As we have said before, NIL is for EVERYONE!


Here is a great example of just how untrue this myth is!

Lyle Adams


Lyle was a member of the 2007 NCAA Men’s Soccer Championship team at Wake Forest. After embarking on a professional soccer career, Lyle transitioned to the tech industry, where he was one of the first 100 employees at Uber, designing platforms and tools for data consumers. Lyle also holds a Master’s in Sports Management from Columbia University.