NIL, Technology and Managing Athletic Department Needs

 

The opportunity for Student-Athletes to capitalize on their Name, Image and Likeness kicked off over one month ago; state and federal laws continue to evolve and the NCAA guidelines are a work in progress as the collegiate sports industry is seeing constant change. In this turbulent environment Spry has had the unique opportunity to speak with administrators from Athletic Departments of all sizes about their areas of success and concern. The needs are similar across most Athletic Departments and while there is a wide range in the number of staff and budgets, most Institutions are feeling overwhelmed at implementing new NIL processes.  Ultimately this ties into the conversation of how technology can streamline the process for administrators and empower student-athletes to be their own best advocate.

Feedback from Athletic Departments

  • Most deals are being offered through social media DMs
  • Student-Athletes want a quick and easy disclosure process
  • Institutions want a customizable app
  • There is a necessity for easy upload of documents
  • Real time communication via NIL technology partner to diffuse confusion

No matter how well prepared an institution felt before July 1, this has been a learning experience for everyone.  With the ultimate goal of keeping student-athletes on the playing field while taking advantage of these opportunities, colleges are forced to be creative and think ahead of the curve. Leading to the importance of using a strong technology program to define the strategic process for incorporating NIL into each Athletic Department.

 

Based on the feedback mentioned above, it is easy to see that internal and external communication continue to be the most important aspects of NIL.  Whether it is between Athletic Departments and student-athletes or student-athletes and potential partners; everyone wants access to the athletic and compliance administrators and a quick response time.  Smart technology can streamline the communication process by addressing some of the other concerns listed above.  By incorporating simple processes to upload documents and submit disclosures, student-athletes are able to move through the approval process while easily tracking each step.

 

Targeted improvements allow technology to be adjusted and enhanced to address these concerns.  By thoughtfully building parameters based on legal requirements Spry has taken the first step in streamlining the process. Additionally, Spry is working with institutions to customize their NIL software, for example Spry can create educational material needed to meet requirements mandated by NIL legislation. Technology also forces transparency as there are records of each request and step in the NIL process.

 

Ultimately every Institution is faced with implementing their own NIL strategy but planning ahead and incorporating thoughtful technology will make the process much easier.

 

If you would like to see Spry’s latest product releases, or are in need of NIL assistance, reach out to Spry to discuss a limited trial today.

Recently at the 2021 NACDA Convention Spry CEO, Lyle Adams, led a conversation with several industry experts on how technology can make Athletic Departments more efficient.  Throughout the engaging conversation, Mark Stanton, University of Richmond Athletics Compliance Coordinator; Scott Williams, Oral Roberts University, Senior Associate Athletic Director and Keith Embray, Penn State University, Assistant AD, Student-Athlete Welfare and Development; fielded questions from Adams and were able to explain how different uses for technology are applied within their Athletic Department.  Spry Product Manager, Grady Gu, was also a part of the panel.  As a tech industry expert, she provided thoughtful responses highlighting key elements of NIL preparation that institutions may not be addressing. Grady also discussed educating stakeholders across all institution departments on the importance of technology, specifically when it comes to NIL and new processes.

 

We don’t want to give anything away, but below are a few additional topics that were discussed

  • We often hear the phrase, work smarter, not harder.  Can you talk about how you believe technology can make this a reality within the NIL space?
  • As a compliance staff, one of your primary obligations is to protect the institution and address potential areas of risk.  Do you believe athletic departments are more vulnerable to potential violations and enforcement action if they aren’t employing technology to manage NIL?
  • When it comes to technology, it’s often the case that people don’t know what they don’t know.  As a product manager, what are some ways you believe technology can assist athletic departments that they may not be aware of?

 

The panel was able to answer a few questions that were asked by webinar attendees via the online chat room.  Below are the questions and answers.

 

Do you have any solutions/software suggestions for disseminating forms to student-athletes?  We have been trying to use Docusign to complete the task, but it appears not to be the best software to use for sending documents to 300 students.

A: For Athletic Departments, sending out the forms is easy, but tracking these forms are hard. They will need a dashboard that integrates with the student-athletes roster with granular filters so they can send out forms just by bulk selecting SAs. From an SA’s perspective, being able to fill out the form on their mobile phone is extremely important. SAs don’t really check emails these days and not many of them of Docusign app installed; having a compliance solution that supports excellent mobile experience and push notification will help drive this process.

 

What about those of us that don’t have D1 budgets? How do we pay for services like this?

Spry has a VERY flexible pricing structure and can help with that. We have solutions for just about any budget.

 

You can check out the entire webinar here.

Now that NIL legislation has passed and the NCAA approved laws allowing student-athletes to take advantage of opportunities, it is more important than ever to understand the differences in state NIL laws. Spry is proud to introduce our new interactive map which provides a broad description of each state’s bill details and how the differences affect student-athletes. 

Sprys’ Interactive NIL Regulation and Tax Map

Interactive NIL Regulation Map

We hope that this resource will be a valuable tool in your NIL library! You can click on a state to find its specific requirements for education hours, the tax implications and also answers to state-by-state FAQs. Student-athletes can be affected by deals that “cross state lines” so it’s important to keep a record of deals and payments that happen in their institutions’ state, their home state and perhaps even federal tax laws if they have a national NIL deal.

 

Spry is your partner in easing the transition of bringing NIL processes into your institution’s athletic department.  We want to help you streamline your athletic department needs and empower your student-athletes to take advantage of the awesome opportunities NIL legislation provides.

 

Check back for new state pages and additional details.

Information contained herein has been obtained from sources considered to be reliable, but we do not guarantee their accuracy or completeness.

 

The Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) Era is less than one week away. 

On July 1st, Alabama (Arizona – July 23rd), Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas will allow student-athletes to earn compensation from their NIL for the first time in the history of collegiate athletics. 

There are four states (Louisiana, Connecticut, Illinois, and Missouri)  that have NIL bills on their Governor’s desk.  These 12 states have over 275 colleges and universities that participate in NCAA sanctioned sports. This means over 82K student-athletes* will have the opportunity to monetize. This new NIL ecosystem will undoubtedly create a compounded (or extensive) layer of complexity because of the many stakeholders – NCAA member institutions, student-athletes, conferences, agents, brands, the NCAA, and the federal government, each of which has competing objectives. 

No one knows how this new ecosystem will function or operate. However, I am excited, curious, and reserved as I write these words. Let us explore the various layers of this NIL new ecosystem and see where they might lead.

 

The Student-Athlete Layer

  • How many student-athletes will participate in NIL?
  • How much will student-athletes make from NIL?
  • Will international student-athletes be allowed to participate? 
  • What types of opportunities will be  most common? 
  • Will student-athletes understand the importance of paying taxes? 
  • Will NIL change the pillars of collegiate athletics that we know and love? 
  • Will NIL negatively impact some student-athletes? Will some student-athletes lose their eligibility? Will some lose their financial aid packages? 

As a former student-athlete, I can unequivocally say that I would not be where I am today professionally without the life lessons I learned and guidance provided to me during my time as a Wake Forest student-athlete.

These are a few of the myriad of questions that the collegiate athletics industry is asking as July 1st approaches. Some of these questions will be resolved with time while others will hopefully be addressed as institutions and conferences finalize their NIL policies.  With approximately 500K student-athletes across 1,100 institutions, NIL has the potential to overwhelm athletics departments with paperwork and administrative tasks to ensure student-athletes and their institutions remain compliant with the state (and hopefully federal) legislation.

 

Overall Student-Athlete Participation

Spry

 

Opportunities by Student-Athlete 

According to the NCAA, there are over eight million student-athletes that participate in high school sports yet only 450K of these student-athletes become collegiate student-athletes, equating to roughly a six percent conversion rate. 

The high school athletes who are fortunate enough to continue their athletic careers in college are hometown heroes. With this in mind, it’s safe to assume many of the student-athletes that choose to participate in NIL will have numerous opportunities in their local communities where they were all conference, all city, or all regional athletes.

Spry

 

At this time, it’s unknown to what extent athletic departments can be and will be involved. The various state laws restrict institutional involvement. Institutions cannot help a student-athlete secure a NIL opportunity. However, many bills require that student-athletes disclose their NIL opportunities to the university before the opportunity is executed.

If an athletic department is required to review these disclosures, there will be an enormous amount of stress put on the compliance team to quickly set up processes and manage each disclosure efficiently. Athletic departments could see anywhere from 300 to 2000 opportunities from its student-athletes in an academic year. 

The average non-Power 5 D1 athletic department has 2.2 ‘compliance staff’ whereas the P5 schools have approximately six dedicated compliance staff (see graphs).

Spry

 

Spry

 

Opportunity Type  Distribution

The NCAA Division 1 Legislative Solutions Group initially separated student-athlete NIL opportunities into two distinct buckets. 

Spry

 

Let’s take a deep dive into Camps, Private Training Sessions, and Autographs/Memorabilia. 

 

Memorabilia and Autographs

A 2018 Forbes article estimated the US Sports Memorabilia market to be worth over $5B. “This figure includes the total gross merchandise volume [GMV] from eBay, independent auction houses, online retail venues, and other sources.” $5B is a large number and this estimate was before the launch of NFTs into the memorabilia ecosystem.  

There is no formal market set for collegiate athletes. But our sense is that there will be a group of elite athletes that will take advantage selling memorabilia and autographs while they are still representing their institution.

The proposed NCAA NIL legislation states student-athletes may not receive compensation for signing an autograph while participating in required athletic related activities or otherwise representing the institution (after games, practices, etc.) However, the rules permit an individual to be paid for their autographs as a business activity or in conjunction with a commercial endorsement or appearance.

How many autographs would the Gatorade Player of the Year from your home state have signed if there were no restrictions on NIL compensation?

Only time will tell how many autographs student-athletes sell in the second half of 2021, but I anticipate this will be a popular earnings opportunity for those student-athletes who choose to participate in NIL.

 

Camps, Private Training Sessions

The American Camps Association reports that the camps industry is a $3B annual business. With COVID19 canceling all 2020 summer camps, 2021 will be a busy time for camps, camp counselors, and campers. With this in mind, camps and private lessons will be a great (and popular) way for student-athletes to earn compensation from their name, image, and likeness.

 

How much will student-athletes make?

Some student-athletes will make significant income from their NIL opportunities. However, I believe the majority of NIL payments will be under $2K and the distribution of these payments will be a right tail graph.

 

Spry

 

Student-athletes will have the opportunity to become entrepreneurs and create their own businesses. However, the success of these endeavors will depend on how much time and energy a student-athlete will dedicate to their business. 

NIL= Lemonade stand.

In order to have a successful lemonade business, you have to market and advertise yourself and your lemonade stands. You have to distinguish yourself from the other lemonade stands in the neighborhood, and most importantly you have to make great lemonade.

We have created an NIL Ramp Up Guide for your team to reference as you prepare for NIL. If you would like to test our robust platform, please sign up for a demo here and if you have any questions or comments, please email us at info@spry.so.

 

Next: we will explore the complex  ‘Institutional Layer.

 

*Estimating about 300 SA’s at each school = 78,900 SA’s in these 11 states

The views expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Spry Payment Systems or its affiliates.  All opinions are subject to change without notice.

 

Lyle Adams Blog Author

Summer is here and student-athletes are gone from campus.  Usually this time of year is a little slower and more quiet, it’s a time for reviewing the past season and preparing for the next.  But, after a year of uncertainty for our country and NIL changes on the horizon, college athletics will not have any down time this year

Communication is always key but especially in times of change, below we have included a few ways to connect with your student-athletes this summer.

 

1. Communicate NIL updates via email

Many student-athletes attend college in different states, towns, and cities from where they attended high-school. After a challenging year of virtual learning away from campus, student-athletes might not be aware of the various state laws surrounding NIL legislation.  Athletic Departments should stay on top of their local laws and inform student-athletes of NIL changes.  Of course, this will increase the workload of the Athletic Department and compliance staff as student-athletes may have questions about what falls under approved NIL opportunities.  We recommend that you review your local NIL Bills and have an understanding of the timing in your state (and any adjacent states that might have passed NIL legislation).

 

2. Remind student-athletes of some FAQs

 

Q: Is there a limit to how much money I can make?

A: No, there is no limit, provided the compensation you receive is the result of a legitimate business activity and is in line with fair market value for your locale.

 

Q: Can I use the athletic facilities at my school to run camps and lessons?

A: Yes,  however you will need to pay the established rate to rent those facilities from your school.

 

Q: Can I raise money through crowdfunding to supplement my scholarship?

A: No.  While you are allowed to raise money through crowdfunding for charitable purposes or to cover actual and necessary expenses for athletic participation, crowdfunding may not be used to cover expenses for tuition, room and board or books associated with the cost of attendance.

 

Q: If I am on full athletic scholarship, will my scholarship cover expenses associated with NIL activities or taxes?

A: No.  Any associated fees or expenses related to NIL opportunities will be completely your responsibility.

 

Q: Can my coach help me identify NIL opportunities?

A: No.  No one associated with your school may assist you in securing an NIL opportunity, however they can provide you with general education about the process.

 

Q: Am I allowed to sell my game worn jerseys and other apparel?

A: No.  You are not allowed to sell items provided by the institution, including awards and apparel retained at the end of the season, until you have exhausted eligibility.

 

3. Discuss local opportunities

Remind student-athletes that local NIL opportunities may pop up while they are home for summer. If a student-athlete is approached with a business opportunity, they should reach out to their compliance department for advice on next steps.  This summer will be confusing as different states have different legislation containing different rules and regulations.  The onus falls on the student-athlete to ensure they communicate with their school and remain compliant with all NCAA and school rules.However, student-athletes should not enter into any NIL agreements before July 1st to remain compliant with existing NCAA rules. 

 

4. Share NIL news stories

As NIL legislation passes in states around the country there will be a lot of coverage in the news.  By sharing stories of both success and failure you will empower your student-athletes to make good decisions should they be approached with an opportunity to capitalize on their NIL. Discussing best practices allows student-athletes (and those guiding them) to make a personal connection with others going through the same process.

 

5. Prepare an NIL Survival Guide

Review the NIL Bill in your state and prepare a guide that your student-athletes can reference if they are approached for an NIL opportunity while they are off campus for the summer.  The Guide can be simple and include a link to a summary of your state’s Bill and 3-5 questions that student-athletes should ask before committing to any sort of NIL deal.  This will give student-athletes 

 

Spry’s platform is the perfect resource for all areas of NIL.  Should you have any questions feel free to email our team at info@spry.so.  We would love to answer any questions on how to prepare to help your student-athletes!

 

Sarah Blog Author

While institutions wait to see if there will be any federal legislation or NCAA guidance that will yield uniform NIL requirements across all states, schools should start to prepare for the immediate future. One of the topics that has been widely discussed and is specifically addressed in most NIL legislation at the state-level is the concept of institutional conflicts, which can arise from existing sponsor relationships or institutional values.

 

Per the NCAA’s proposed legislation, Bylaw 12.5.3.1.3.,

“An institution may prohibit a student-athlete’s involvement in name, image and likeness activities that conflict with existing institutional sponsorship arrangements.”

This addresses the ‘existing sponsor relationship’ where a school could partner with Nike, and restrict its student-athletes from working with any other company that they deem a competitor. The proposed legislation goes on to include,

“An institution, at its discretion, may prohibit a student-athlete’s involvement in name, image, and likeness activities based on other considerations, such as conflict with institutional values, as defined by the institution.”

This portion of the proposed approach leaves the door open for a wide range of conflicts that could arise. Schools would have to coordinate at an institution level and carefully determine the areas in which they would want to restrict their students from working. In line with many other NIL state bills, Florida’s ‘Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation and Rights Bill’ that is set to become effective July 1 also restricts athletes from entering a contract for compensation for the use of their NIL “if a term of the contract conflicts” with any of the school’s contracts. 

 

Conflicts of interest come in many different shapes and sizes. They can range from NCAA-wide conflicts such as prohibiting athletes from working with performance enhancement companies, to institutional conflicts such as prohibiting athletes from working with cannabis companies, to instances as granular as team-specific conflicts that prevent a team from working with team sponsor competitors. Whatever the specific regulations end up stating, schools will need to understand the varying type of conflicts and how they will approach each type. If the NCAA takes a less-restrictive approach, the onus will fall on the schools who will need to be prepared to make incredibly important decisions.

Definitions and examples of what each type could include: 

  • NCAA: Conflicts that would be consistent for all schools. (Ex: Performance Enhancing Substance Companies, Sports Wagering Companies)
  • Conference or State: Conflicts that are determined by state legislature or by individual conferences that restrict schools within their boundaries to abide. (Ex: In Alabama, HB 404 allows a college or university to prohibit student-athletes from entering into contracts with brands or companies in the following categories: tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, adult entertainment, casinos and entities that promote gambling activities, as well as “[a]ny entity or individual that … negatively impacts or reflects adversely on the postsecondary educational institution or its athletic programs,” in the “reasonable and good faith judgment” of the specific college or university. In Texas, S.B. 1385 (awaiting Gov. Abbot’s signature) prohibits student-athletes from endorsing gambling or illegal firearms.)
  • Institutional: Conflicts set by the individual school due to institutional values of existing sponsor relationships. (Ex: A school has a retail sponsorship and prohibits athletes from working with competitors, or a religious institution might prohibit cannabis)

 

If the collective sentiment in most current legislation is any indication of what is to come, schools will have to address (at least) a portion of these conflicts of interest at the institutional level. At a bare minimum, schools should start with an internal audit of existing sponsors, contract length of those sponsors, and identify competitors that they would consider restricting NIL athlete participation with. Athletic departments will likely also need to coordinate with other department administrators to discuss institutional values and decide how that will be handled. Proactive effort now will pay dividends down the road when these NIL opportunities inevitably present themselves.

 

Matt S Blog Author

 


** Any content provided by or made available by Spry is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal, tax, financial, or other advice. Any legal resources provided are for informational purposes only and may not be applicable in all jurisdictions. Any tax calculations provided are available for general informational purposes only and are based upon current law. Individual circumstances may differ which can affect the application and effect of federal, state, local, non-United States and other tax law. All legal and tax questions should be directed to a qualified professional.

 

The name, image, and likeness landscape (NIL)  has been changing rapidly. One of the topics that school athletic departments care about the most is education. How can a school provide its student-athletes with the most valuable and informative NIL education content so that they can thrive in this new industry? After all, a good NIL education program will benefit the existing student-athletes and build a good school reputation for future recruitment. After talking with multiple stakeholders in the industry, Spry has summarized the below five challenges that most schools face in terms of NIL education and how Spry’s educational platform can help tackle these problems. 

1. Keeping GenZ student-athletes focused is challenging.

GenZ’s attention span is only 8 seconds, making it the shortest among all generations. This means when it comes to education, every second counts. In addition, GenZ also lives in the information explosion era. Managing information has become more difficult than ever. To keep the content digestible and appealing for the student-athletes, Spry is working with leading education partners to provide a wide variety of media content to mimic how student-athletes engage with daily mobile activities. The centralized platform has also made it easier for admins to publish engaging and diverse content by integrating with different video platforms, a friendly mobile presentation experience, and a customizable readings builder. 

 

2. Student-athletes have busy schedules. 

From strength training to team practice, along with attending classes to finishing homework, student-athletes have intimidating schedules! Providing high-quality NIL education while not adding extra burdens to student-athletes becomes one of the most important objectives when creating this platform. Spry offers both desktop and mobile platforms for student-athletes to take their NIL courses anytime and anywhere. Whether it’s on the way to school or having lunch in the study hall, student-athletes can access the NIL courses on Spry with just one click. Short content and customized modules also make it easier to pause and resume anytime based on their schedules. 

Screen Shot 2021 06 01 at 4 38 32 PM

 

3. Most school admins don’t have the bandwidth to handhold the student-athletes on NIL education.

Many schools’ athletic departments have limited human resources. Staff usually have to manage compliance, career development, volunteering opportunities, administrative work, and even inventory simultaneously, which makes it impossible for them to handhold the student-athletes on NIL education. With modern technology that automates the education process, Spry saves AD staff time and energy by providing automatic quiz grading, educational reports generation, and sending periodic reminders to student-athletes. In other words, Spry is here to ensure the admins are not overwhelmed by the new legislation while giving the student-athletes the best NIL education opportunities. 

 

4. Institutions have different NIL educational resource needs. 

Some school administrators want to write their NIL content to target their student-athletes, while other schools want to hire external educators such as law school professors, business school graduate students, or even social media influencers on college sports to diversify the content. As a result, Spry not only provides a comprehensive internal educational platform for the school admins to publish content but also has an external educator platform for the admins to hire existing educators on the platform or even invite their own resources to write compelling NIL content for their student-athletes. School admins will be able to screen educators, approve content before publishing, target specific student-athletes and see the content’s performance in real-time on Spry. 

 

Screen Shot 2021 06 01 at 4 41 31 PM

 

5. It’s challenging to make NIL education practical and adaptive to state laws. 

Many education platforms offer online NIL educational content. They even publish blog posts frequently. However, different states have different educational legislations on NIL. It is difficult to tie the generic educational content with the actual NIL situation at your school in your state. Unlike other platforms, Spry does not only provide a user-friendly platform to publish content but also sets educational requirements automatically by referring to state laws. Additionally, school admins will be able to slice and dice the real-time NIL metrics and target the student-athletes with the most relevant NIL educational content by using the filters on Spry.  For example, if the admins notice that most of the women’s soccer team members are having NIL opportunities on social media, they can send more digital personal branding content to the student-athletes’ accounts to help them gain the most significant possible advantage from the NIL opportunities. 

 

Spry is committed to creating a helpful tool for school admins to navigate this NIL landscape. If you have any questions or would like to see our product in action, please reach out to us HERE. We look forward to a more in-depth conversation!

 

Recently Spry CEO, Lyle Adams, had the opportunity to speak with LEAD1 CEO , Tom McMillen.  The two discussed many facets of the upcoming implementation of NIL legislation and how it will affect institutions across the board.  Issues such as compliance, technology, education took up a lot of the conversation.  But we also loved hearing what keeps Lyle Adams up at night. Scroll down to watch the LEAD1 Angle Episode.  

Below is a recap from Lead1:

On Tuesday, LEAD1 Association (“LEAD1”) released its latest episode of the “LEAD1 Angle with Tom McMillen.” LEAD1 President and CEO, McMillen, sat down with Lyle Adams, CEO at Spry, a comprehensive platform that helps athletic departments adapt to the NIL landscape, particularly with regard to how student-athletes can disclose their prospective NIL opportunities, while helping institutions identify potential conflicts. Spry’s main priorities are to keep student-athletes eligible (compliant), while increasing the efficiency of athletic departments and prioritizing student-athlete education. 

If Adams’ name sounds familiar – it should. Adams and Spry have been a big LEAD1 supporter during this pandemic, most notably as the presenting partner for LEAD1’s virtual spring meeting. His team is also helping LEAD1 athletic departments better prepare for NIL changes coming soon.  Adams’ story is admirable – he’s a former LEAD1 student-athlete, professional soccer player, and following his playing career, was one of the first employees at Uber. Those experiences, Adams describes, led to the creation of Spry. As an early Uber employee, Adams learned supply chain management , product and engineering tactics, which serve as a major influence for Spry’s platform and infrastructure.

In the interview, Adams discusses the intersection between NIL and technology. With thousands of potential student-athlete NIL deals among Division I college sports, and compliance departments limited to a couple of staff people, technology, according to Adams, can be used to effectively track disclosure of NIL deals and build intelligence in monitoring deals over time. Adams’ philosophy is aligned with LEAD1’s NIL Working Group’s principles, which has advocated for disclosure of all NIL deals, and using technology to help ensure regulatory compliance, including monitoring agent and booster activity. Spry’s platform, for example, can alert student-athletes whether agents are registered with the school and has similar software to identify conflict areas with boosters. Spry’s platform has extensive reporting functionality, which can identify opportunities that could be potentially harmful or malicious in nature.  

McMillen asked Adams “what keeps you up at night?” Adams responded by bringing up a fairly buried point in the NIL conversation –some of the unintended consequences of NIL, particularly Pell Grant eligibility. In general, students whose total family income is $50,000 a year or less qualify for Pell Grants. Pell Grant calculations are based upon a number of factors including cost of attendance (which varies by institution), status as a full-time student, and other considerations. Accordingly, student-athletes need to consider whether NIL endorsements are lucrative enough to potentially sacrifice their financial aid.

While Adams believes that NIL will be a tremendous opportunity [for at least half of all student-athletes to earn some additional cash], in addition to being a real-life apprenticeship opportunity, with opportunity comes some risk. Adams’ platform, Spry, can help LEAD1 athletic departments mitigate such risks.

 

We have a confession to make, we missed publishing this post during Financial Literacy Month, which is April, and the tardiness of the blog does not reflect how important we know financial literacy to be for student-athletes. 

 

As Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) legislation sweeps across the floors of our nation’s legislative bodies, the aspect of our student-athletes’ financial readiness has been propelled to the forefront of the discussion. Many pieces of legislation passed in some states require a minimum number of hours dedicated to financial literacy, and this is music to our ears. 

 

In this blog, we will discuss what financial literacy is, why we think it is important and what to think about when providing educational materials to your student-athletes. 

What is Financial Literacy? 

 

Investopedia defines Financial Literacy as “the ability to understand and effectively use various financial skills, including personal financial management, budgeting, and investing. Financial literacy is the foundation of your relationship with money, and it is a life-long journey of learning.”

 

As NIL is fast approaching, it is critical that higher education institutions start thinking about ways to ensure financial literacy curriculum is available to their industrious student-athletes. 

 

Why Do We Know It’s Important?

In addition to the benefits of understanding financial principles, it is just as important to understand financial pitfalls and traps. Being able to identify risky opportunities or debt levels that may be too high, will help prepare student-athletes for a bright future far beyond their college career. 

Being financially literate and confident plays an important role with respect to our mental & physical health, relationships, and the opportunities that arise as we transition from student-athletes to the professional working world. Just one example is having ample savings, which will allow individuals to explore opportunities that may be more meaningful because of financial security.

What Should Institutions Cover in their Initial Financial Literacy Package? 

With student-athletes in mind, we feel some of the most important aspects of financial literacy are below:

 

Relationships with Banking Institutions

Establishing formal relationships with banks and/or credit unions allow for safe harboring of hard earned money. These institutions offer excellent ways and opportunities to receive payment, keep track of income/expenses and set up the core foundation to establish healthy savings practices. As student-athletes start to take advantage of NIL opportunities, it is imperative they have banking relationships established to receive payments. 

You should offer your student-athletes material around banking relationships, what to expect, how to interact with them and differences between checking and savings accounts.

 

 

Budgeting and Exercising the Savings Muscle

“Pay yourself first” is a popular saying among financial literacy gurus. This basic principle means that as income comes in, be sure to set aside a percentage towards your savings and as you get more and more used to this process, the savings muscle grows and grows. Just like with anything new, the aspect of doing this may start off feeling uncomfortable but you’ll quickly realize the benefits of this practice as your savings grow along with your financial literacy confidence. 

There are plenty of great budgeting programs out there, one we find particularly useful is from our friends at FinancialStress and their 50-30-20 Budget template. The idea behind this program is 50% of your income goes to the most essential bills, 30% goes to things you want and nice-to-haves, and then the remaining 20% goes to paying down debt or saving.

 

50-30-20-Budget

                         

Student Loans & Financial Aid

For most student-athletes, athletic scholarships will not cover the entire costs of tuition, student loans become a necessary bi-product of attending college for these individuals. It is critical for student-athletes to understand the impact of taking on loans, their interest rates and expected payments as they graduate and enter the workforce. 

With respect to NIL, earning potential of student-athletes can possibly impact need based aid. This presents new challenges for both the institution and the student-athlete, we want to ensure the student-athlete does not jeopardize their financial aid by taking advantage of NIL opportunities that push them over a need based threshold. Institutions should educate, inform and supply ample tracking mechanisms to make sure the student-athlete is readily informed of their financial aid position. 

 

Student-financial-knowledge

 

Credit Cards

We are not advocating the use of credit cards but seeing how readily available they are and their popularity, we feel it is important to educate the student-athletes on the importance of knowing how credit cards work, what their risks are and what a credit score is and how it is calculated. 

Our friends at FinancialStress, offer a great piece of advice on what is the best First Credit Card For College Students. We encourage institutions to look at educational materials that encompass the advantages and disadvantages of credit cards and the impact of missing payments, etc can have on their credit scores.

 

Taxes

As student-athletes across the country start monetizing from their name, image & likeness, the tax implications will be far-reaching and daunting. For anyone earning over $400 from self-employment, a federal tax return needs to be filed. Institutions need to ensure their student-athletes are equipped to adhere to the federal & state tax laws. It is our opinion that institutions should focus on both tax education as well as provide solutions to enable student-athletes to properly file their tax returns. NIL opportunities very well might be the first time student-athletes have a tax burden and it is imperative that they are equipped to handle the situation with confidence.

 

These foundational financial literacy topics will help ensure your student-athletes are ready to take advantage of the upcoming NIL legislation changes and do so with confidence! 

 

We stand by the concept that financial literacy is important for everyone, and supplying purpose built material for higher learning institutions and their talented, hard-working student-athletes. 

With summer right around the corner (as well as some states passing NIL legislation), a great opportunity for a student-athlete to use their name, image, and likeness (NIL) will be hosting a summer camp or clinic. While most camps focus on planning the on-field and on-court instruction, it is important for student-athletes to remember that there are many other factors that they need to consider. Keep reading to find some suggestions to consider before the first day of camp*

 

Consider Creating an LLC

A limited liability company is a business structure whereby the owners are not personally liable for the company’s debts or liabilities. Limited liability companies are hybrid entities that combine the characteristics of a corporation with those of a partnership or sole proprietorship. While this is not required, an LLC could provide liability for you and help protect you from many unexpected scenarios. 

 

Understand State-Specific Requirements

Each state has different rules for operating a business, such as a camp. For example, some states require that you have a license to run a camp or clinic. Be sure to check that you are within specific state laws and regulations when considering starting a camp.

 

Protect Yourself and Your Camp Participants | Consider Insurance 

Insurance is one of the critical components of running a camp that is often overlooked. If you are running your own camp, you should consider securing insurance to cover your operation. Below is a list of insurance coverage options to look into,  depending on the type or size of the camp you are running. Be sure to consult with an insurance professional before making a decision:

  • General Liability Insurance: General liability insurance protects you against property damage, advertising injury claims, personal injury claims, and bodily injury claims. As a business owner or contractor, you are usually required to have a form of general liability coverage to shield you from such unexpected situations. A single accident might lead to a lawsuit that could be beyond your financial abilities. 
  • Property: Covers property damage caused to a third party by you, your employees, or your camp operations.
  • Accidental medical insurance: This coverage protects campers, staffers, visitors, and others. Since accidents can and do happen all the time at camp, this policy could be invaluable for compensating injured parties who require medical care.
  • Worker compensation: Should be considered if you are employing others to help work your camp/clinic.
  • Health insurance for the owner, staff, and campers

Draft a Liability Waiver

A  “waiver”  is  a  written  agreement  before  injuries  occur;  they make  people  aware  of possible risk of injury. Explore the option of having an attorney draft a liability waiver. This will dramatically reduce your risk in a scenario where someone gets injured at your sports camp. It is also important to note that waivers are not legally binding when it comes to minors. If working with children under 18 years of age, you must have the waivers signed by their responsible guardian.

 

Develop a Plan

NIL Summer Camp Checklist

Each of these steps should help get you closer to a successful and profitable summer camp.  However, we recommend that you include your coach in any plans that you make and follow up with your athletic department, as well as a legal representative, with outstanding questions.

 

Matt S Blog Author