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Can college athletes get paid? Can they make money on social media?

College athletes no longer need to wait till they’re out of school to start making money from their athletic pursuits, thanks to a new-ish NCAA policy.

College athletes no longer need to wait till they’re out of school to start making  money from their athletic pursuits, thanks to an NCAA ruling.

College athletes are now allowed to make money from their athletic pursuits, something that they had been unable to do prior to an NCAA policy that was put in place last year.

The NCAA released an interim policy that took effect last year on July 1, allowing college athletes to receive compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness, also referred to as their ‘NIL’. These money-making activities always have to be in keeping with state laws where the college can be found.

Product sponsorship, social media promotions

With the new policy, students have been permitted to monetize their NIL without any major restrictions. Aside from traditional endorsement agreements with brands, they can now also make money off their social media accounts. This includes sponsored posts or videos on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or YouTube.

They can also profit from sales of merchandise, recruitment for summer camps, and signing autographs.

These sportsmen and women can also now hire agents who can assist them in marketing their NIL and brand.

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The association had previously banned athletes from receiving payment outside of what they received from their scholarships and allowances, handing down suspensions or loss of eligibility to those who failed to comply with this rule. This practice was supposed to safeguard “amateurism”, the notion that college athletes should not get paid, as they are not professionals.

Supreme Court rules on athletes' education expenses

Before the NCAA’s change of heart, the Supreme Court had ruled that the association cannot limit education-related expenditure for athletes. The Court was not convinced of the association's stand on keeping the athletes unpaid.

According to the ruling, “The NCAA couches its arguments for not paying student athletes in innocuous labels. But the labels cannot disguise the reality: The NCAA’s business model would be flatly illegal in almost any other industry in America.”

Now that athletes can receive payment for their NIL, companies have flocked quickly to sign them up to promote their products. Tennessee State University basketball player Hercy Miller inked a $2 million endorsement deal with tech company Web Apps America even before he started school at the university.

Receiving such huge figures even as college students can be dizzying for these athletes, and raise expectations for even larger amounts when they turn pro. It will remain to be seen if these astronomical figures are just the beginning of even bigger paychecks when they join the big leagues, or simply an early peak of the earning power of their athletic prowess.


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