Tag Archive for: NIL Myths

Another popular myth student-athletes have regarding NIL is that they don’t need to secure additional advice because they can just ask their coaches for help.  

Why do NIL students think coaches can help:

  • It’s a fact that coaches and support staff are typically a one stop shop for student-athletes when it comes to just about anything that has to do with their experience.  
  • When athletes have trouble with a class, a roommate problem, their meal card isn’t working, they get parking tickets or virtually anything else that goes wrong, they’re trained to work with their coaches and it usually gets taken care of.

This is a NIL myth because:

  • NIL is new and different. Many coaches may truly have a desire to help their athletes with NIL, but simply don’t understand how it works.  They don’t have the expertise to advise  about taxes, risk management, legal liability, marketing strategies and the like.
  • Additionally, many schools have instructed their coaches not to get involved with advising student-athletes about NIL opportunities because if the student runs into problems with their deal, the institution could be liable for misadvisement or even potentially subject to legal risk under Title IX.
  • NIL is a priority for your student-athletes, but not necessarily for your coaches. A coach’s #1 priority is building a competitive program and winning games.  Some coaches view the time athletes spend pursuing NIL opportunities as time they could or should be devoting to skill development.  

Below are a couple of examples why this is a NIL myth!

“One coach from a Power 5 institution was quoted as saying “he wouldn’t know how to answer questions from his veteran players on what he could do to help them…”

“whether mandated by state legislation or through recognized best practices, institutions are generally prohibited from being involved in the specifics of their student-athletes’ NIL activities, and for a variety of good reason: too much institutional involvement can lead to claims for contractual non-performance, as well as campus compliance, Title IX and a host of employment-related issues.” 

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!

It seems really easy. Make a list and cross things off or add notes when needed. But NIL compliance isn’t that simple.  

As NIL opportunities are ramping up, the number of disclosures is growing by the day.  Student-Athletes are exploring ways to make deals and will therefore need approvals. And the nuances that need to be tracked keep getting more and more complex (think school specific requirements compounded with the possible state specific needs of an out-of-state student-athlete, or the financial aid implications that just a few extra dollars on a deal could wreck). But is that all effectively being tracked on a whiteboard or piece of paper all that efficient? How often do we all lose track of an email in our inbox? Or accidentally work off of an out of date version of a team spreadsheet?

Right now, institutions may think that NIL deal volume is too low to justify any kind of software to track their disclosures. They are banking on the fact that student-athletes will remain compliant through a spreadsheet or handwritten method, and that maintaining that growing records system will remain manageable. But we know that is an invitation for increased risk. NIL opportunities are only going to increase as new student-athletes learn how to market themselves and their brand. It could be helpful to find a suitable NIL platform to track and record these deals for more effective NIL compliance.

Several other reasons why it is a myth that institutions do not need NIL software include:

  • If the NCAA does create rules around NIL, you will have a virtual paper trail of all of the transactions.  
  • It’s much easier to compare year over year records
  • Load Institutions partners and immediately identify conflicts of interest
  • Reporting statistics for recruiting
  • Just because SAs are not disclosing, doesn’t mean they aren’t participating in NIL activity and creating areas of risk

So, don’t fall for the idea that the old pen and paper will cover your NIL compliance needs.  Do the research and find the right software program to help your institution from start to finish.  


“They [schools] said, ‘Everyone’s focused on marketing and branding, but what we’re worried about is how are we going to protect our student athletes? How are we going to know what our athletes are entering into before it’s too late?’” Schoenthal said. “We realized there was a need in this space. Marketing is cool and branding is cool, but none of that matters if your kids aren’t eligible.”


It’s true, people believe that NIL deals are just for Division 1 Schools and Student-Athletes. But we know that isn’t the case. Perhaps it is because fans see the same sports represented on television or hear about the same schools and mascots. Fans may believe that there are only a few ways to capitalize on NIL but we are ready to disprove that myth!

Some reasons people may believe that NIL is only for D1 schools are:

  • Brands only want to support nationally known, or well-known student-athletes
    1. If an athlete is showcased on a national broadcast, they have the branding and reach to support a “big” NIL deal.
  • Schools with big budgets can help find NIL opportunities for their Student-Athletes
    1. Schools with large budgets and Athletic Departments with sponsorship deals already in place have bigger and stronger networks for the Student-Athletes.
  • D1 Sports are broadcast on TV
    1. There is a point that bigger exposure for well-known student-athletes may open doors for NIL opportunities but that is not the only way to secure a NIL deal.

These reasons are all just hearsay! Everyday fans do not know what is driving brands to make NIL commitments, but in addition to the well-known brands committing to Student-Athletes Spry has noticed brands committing to athletes at D2, D3 and NAIA institutions. We have seen multiple deals struck with Olympic athletes returning from Tokyo, and local brands seem to love supporting local Student-Athletes.

The idea of NIL only being for D1 athletes is wrong because:

  • Brands are targeting local athletes, big or small
    1. Local businesses see returns on their investment into local institutions. Community members like to support the athletes that they see in action – the “hometown hero’s”. NIL now allows deals such as: if a Community College athlete recommends a local coffee shop on their social media there is a great chance the business will see an uptick in sales.
  • NIL deals are large and small
    1. Big deals get big coverage, but there are many more targeted sponsorships celebrating student-athletes with close ties to local businesses. These are the NIL deals that should be making headlines.
  • Entrepreneur opportunities for all
    1. NIL legislation has opened a door for Student-Athletes to start their own businesses and promote at all levels. D2 and D3 athletes have just as much of an opportunity to promote their own products as any other athletes.

Here is a great example of a non-traditional NIL deal.

Check back next week when we explain why every institution should have NIL software to help manage their student-athletes NIL opportunities.