248: How the NCAA’s NIL Policy Will Impact Enrollment Growth

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For the first time, college athletes will have the right to use their name, image, and likeness for profit. But what makes the change so massive?

Michelle Meyer, NIL Coordinator at San Diego State University and Founder at NIL Network joins the podcast to discuss:

    • The economic & enrollment impact of the NCAA’s new NIL policy
    • What a truly “free agent” system in Division I athletics might look like
    • What these changes mean for an institution’s enrollment growth strategy


Before and after NIL

When it comes to the right to publicity, it’s composed of three pieces:

  • Name
  • Image
  • Likeness

Whether they know it or not, this is a right that every person has — They can go out and sell t-shirts or start a business using their name. A right that college athletes, however, didn’t always have.  

Thinking back to her time as a beach volleyball coach at the University of Hawaii, Michelle points out the missed opportunities her team could’ve had:

“My kids would have loved to go out and run clinics and private lessons on the beaches of Waikiki. They could’ve potentially gotten a special waiver from the NCAA, but it was a very hard process for them. And as we know, college athletes are full-time students with little extra time,” she explains.

Now that college athletes have their NIL rights, Michelle has seen self-promotion everywhere — Something athletes and fans alike are excited for:

  • Social media
  • Businesses 
  • Public appearances
  • Coaching clinics
  • Autograph signings
  • Jerseys with the athlete’s name 

But the impact isn’t limited to just economic changes.

The right fit for the right athlete

For the first time, college athletes looking into schools are asking the question: Which college will help me build my personal brand and following the most?

Think of the athlete torn between a school with a massive brand and local state college. While the school with the massive brand may help them build that following, the local college may provide an overall more lucrative deal because of the hometown support that athlete will receive. 

Or think of the athlete that chooses a small school where they’ll shine instead of a large school where they’ll blend in.

Next steps for colleges adoption the NIL mindset

Michelle has seen it already — institutions hiring for an NIL position to help athletes get compensated directly, in order to attract and secure the best athletic talent.

So, for those institutions looking to follow suit, Michelle offers this starting advice: Build a landing page on your website to showcase your policies and guidelines that can help organizations easily partner with your athletes. It’s something relatively easy to build out but not a lot of schools have done yet. 

And if you don’t have as robust a budget as you’d need to justify diving into NIL just yet, look internally at business and marketing courses that you may offer — those can be a goldmine of information for athletes looking to build a better personal brand.


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