NIL and Sportswashing: The Fine Line Between Sponsorship and Manipulation
Wealthy businessmen are using NIL to pay athletes, but it's not without something in return...
College sports have always attracted wealthy donor money…
It’s enticing to be known as the big booster that:
flies private with the team
has their name on the locker room
is the reason for upgraded facilities
NIL has increased this 10x (and today’s story proves that further).
Let’s Dive In 👇
College Sports For Personal Gain
NIL allows wealthy individuals to put money into the pockets of college athletes.
And for the most part, it’s been used for good (and done in a private matter).
But it also attracts the “all publicity is good publicity” type of people.
John Ruiz at the University of Miami is the perfect example. He wanted to be the quasi-owner of Miami athletics through NIL.
And it worked…
His payments, especially $500,000 to transfer Nigel Pack, helped Miami reach their first-ever men’s basketball Final Four.
But John’s future plans look bleak due to NCAA trouble and business hurdles.
In perfect fashion, the universe has delivered us the next person.
Marc D’Amelio x UConn Athletics
Marc D’Amelio is an American businessman, internet personality, and politician.
His family even has their own Hulu show:
The daughters have a lot of social media followers:
Dixie: 82 million followers
Charli: 195 million followers
In 2022, Marc founded the D’Amelio Huskies Collective for his alma mater, UConn, with intentions to sign at least one athlete in every men’s and women’s sport.
Last week, he hosted several UConn athletes at their footwear event in California.
The formula makes sense…
Create a NIL collective
Sign college athletes at the school with large social media followings
Start a new business (preferably consumer-facing)
Use those NIL-paid athletes to promote your business
Cash from the business > expenses from the NIL deals.
So you make money (and look good for “signing” college athletes in the process).
Is This NIL Sportswashing?
A few weeks back I talked about the true definition of sportswashing in the Saudi Arabia article.
Sportswashing is using sports to present a sanitized, friendlier version of a political regime or operation.
Marc D’Amelio is a politician & businessman using NIL payments to portray his image better and advance his agendas.
Sounds a little bit like sportswashing…
Good or bad — that’s for you to judge.
Where’s This Going
NIL is a great way to bring extra publicity for wealthy individuals and/or their business ventures.
I think we’re going to see more of this…but who’s next?
The Bush family? Kim Kardashian’s Collective? 😆
Hate the game, not the player.
John Ruiz and Marc D’Amelio are leveraging this unique time in history to bolster their own objectives (and college athletes are getting paid in the process).
Today’s guest is Michael Raymond, Founder of Raymond Representation.
Raymond Representation is an emerging boutique sports agency, specializing in NIL and Talent Management.
You’ll enjoy this episode as we discuss:
Process of building a sports agency
Talent Management & where it’s headed
Michael’s favorite NIL deals they’ve done
Check out the podcast episode here.
Thanks for reading (and listening today).
Have an awesome weekend!
Extra Credit: NIL x Sportswashing
Tennessee-Martin quarterback Dresser Winn signed a NIL deal with, Colin Johnson, who was running for district attorney in Tennessee's 27th Judicial District.
South Carolina basketball player Zia Cooke did COVID-19 vaccine public service announcements paid for by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
As paying athletes heads downstream, we’ll see more of these “on the edge” deals involving politics and controversial topics.
NIL: A New Era in College Sports
It all started with a tweet. A simple message from a college athlete, expressing his frustration with the restrictions placed on his ability to profit from his own name, image, and likeness (NIL). That tweet sparked a movement, a groundswell of support from athletes across the country who were tired of being told they couldn't make a dime off their own hard work and talent.
The NCAA had long maintained strict rules around NIL, prohibiting athletes from accepting any compensation beyond their scholarships. But as the world changed around them, it became clear that these rules were outdated and unfair. Athletes were expected to pour their hearts and souls into their sport, all while generating billions of dollars for their schools and the NCAA, without any share of the profits.
The tide began to turn in 2019, when California passed the first NIL law, allowing college athletes in the state to profit from their NIL starting in 2023. Other states quickly followed suit, and the pressure on the NCAA to change its rules only grew.
Finally, in July of 2021, the NCAA announced that it would allow athletes to profit from their NIL, effective immediately. It was a seismic shift in the world of college sports, and one that had been a long time coming.
Now, college athletes across the country are free to sign endorsement deals, monetize their social media accounts, and even start their own businesses. It's a new era in college sports, one that gives athletes the freedom and opportunity they deserve. And it all started with a tweet.
I do not think we need over regulation, but the student athletes should have an educational session before jumping into NIL deals. Profluence Sports is first step in providing more knowledge.