Husker Athletics prepares for new laws around NIL

Updated: Jun. 15, 2021 at 11:24 PM CDT
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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - Husker athletes won’t get paid for their work on the field or court, but they could be allowed to get paid for branding themselves using their name, image and likeness or NIL.

Marketing agents said some athletes could make anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000.

From social media to local event appearances to even starting their own business, athletes could make money on it.

FanWord CEO and founder Christopher Aumueller said, “Athletes, in particular, have much higher engagement rates on average than your traditional influencer.”

Marketing agents said fans want to connect more with athletes. What agencies provide is education and helping athletic departments comply with any future rules.

Aumueller said, “Every athlete really regardless of gender, sport, or social media audience size can really benefit from this.”

The UNL athletic department is for allowing athletes to get paid for a NIL as long as everyone is on the same playing field.

But, with other states making NIL laws, that may not be the case.

Opendorse, which is headquartered in Lincoln, has a state-by-state map showing states who have NIL laws. Texas passed legislation Monday to allow for NIL in the state that’d go into effect on July 1. It’s currently one of six states that will start on this day.

Nebraska passed LB 962 in 2020, but it states the deadline for it is July of 2023. Senior deputy athletic director Garrett Klassy said the date could be changing.

“I think we’re only 1 of 2 states where we’re able to opt-in at any time,” Klassy said.

State colleges and universities must set a date on or before the deadline of July of 2023. This means UNL could move its start date to any time.

Klassy said, “We’re probably at a little bit of an advantage. We’re hopeful that there’s going to be an NCAA solution coming out soon and then we can make some larger decisions.”

The NCAA had officials speak at a Congressional hearing last Wednesday. The NCAA hopes to have some federal guidelines in place by the 2021-22 school year.

Congressman Jeff Fortenberry, (R)- Neb. said in a statement, “The issues at play involve fairness, justice, and the meaning of education. You don’t want a football arms race in which big schools win, everyone else loses. More creative ideas involve trust funds for players who graduate, disability insurance, and athletic participation treated as student-work.”

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