HBCU blog

With student-athletes back on campus and the return of fall sports, many schools have reported an uptick in NIL deals. Media outlets over the past few weeks have been highlighting major NIL opportunities, ranging from students signing endorsement deals with major apparel retailers, fast-food chains and even airline companies. With football stadiums at full capacity, and school spirit returning to full bloom, there is no surprise why businesses would want to work with these student-athletes.

If you are reading this and thinking to yourself, “we are certainly not in the same boat as these large institutions,” you are not alone. Majority of institutions find themselves in your shoes.

However, just because student-athletes are not being approached by businesses or boosters to sign NIL deals, does not mean that these opportunities are not available. Student-athletes from ALL types of institutions deserve to be empowered to understand that these opportunities exist. In order to empower your student-athletes, they need to be provided with the necessary resources to guide them.

All athletic departments have the ability to empower their student-athletes through NIL education. Providing content that illustrates how student-athletes from similar backgrounds or institutions are finding success through NIL will provide valuable insights for your student-athletes.

Even in the first two months of NIL, we have seen student-athletes from many different levels (from lesser-resourced institutions, Olympic sport athletes, or even a limited social media following) have success in NIL opportunities. Here are two NIL opportunity types that ALL of your eligible student-athletes should be aware of and consider:

  1. Promo codes via social media posts = low risk and mutually beneficial
    • Many student-athletes have utilized the promo code approach to capitalize on their NIL. For student-athletes who may not have tens of thousands of followers, they still may be able to benefit from using promo codes. For example, a student athlete may have a small following that consists of mostly students on campus. Reaching out to a campus-located popular restaurant could be a great way for a student athlete to use their platform to increase visibility for the restaurant.
    • Additionally, businesses will be more inclined to say yes to this type of opportunity, as it is low risk and can generate more business for them.
  2. Camps/Clinics/Lessons – student-athletes can monetize their skillset (or craft)
    • Every student athlete has the opportunity to return to their hometown and share their expertise with potential future athletes. Whether it is a one-off tennis lesson for a child of a family friend, or a 50-attendee basketball camp, student-athletes of all sports and levels will be able to utilize their skills and experiences.

Even if these opportunities may not result in four-digit contracts, they still can be extremely meaningful to your student-athletes. These deals yield real-life business experiences that student-athletes can carry with them throughout the rest of their lives. College classrooms are tremendous ways to learn, but there is no better learning opportunity than a real-world experience. Now is the time to provide your student-athletes with insights and tools to help them realize their potential.

Matt Suchecki


Matt is a customer success professional who loves helping Spry's clients solve problems. With 5+ years of consulting experience in helping clients implement new technologies to improve their operational efficiencies, Matt also holds a master's degree in Sports Management from Columbia University.