NIL allows Simpson athletes to make money off their image


Courtesy of Jake Brend

This summer, Junior Jake Brend created a satirical commercial advertising for tennis lessons with “the 7th best tennis player on the 6th best Division III team in Iowa.”

by Jenna Prather, Staff Writer

This year, Simpson College student athletes have the opportunity to profit from their name, image and likeness, much like athletes nationwide.

Currently, 20 states passed specific laws set to legalize NIL — which stands for name, image and likeness — for student-athletes. 

Despite the lack of law, the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) interim policy states that college student-athletes from any state are permitted to profit off their name, image, and likeness without violating NCAA rules.

NIL, or “right of publicity,” opportunities are not a new subject; professional athletes have done this for years, and discussions surrounding bringing this to a college level also aren’t new. However, it wasn’t until the NCAA released their policy back in June to allow college athletes to benefit from NIL opportunities, no matter where their school is located, that things started to ramp up.

The policies in place allow students to use their status as athletes to promote their own work, product or service as well as endorse third-party products or services – provided there is no institutional involvement in acquiring promotional opportunities for these student athletes.

This allows student-athletes to advertise lessons or coaching, become an athlete influencer or even become the face of a local business, motivate the entrepreneurial spirit and figure out how to creatively market the position of a student athlete.

Any Simpson athlete is welcome to take advantage of this opportunity, the only thing the athletics department asks of students is that they keep them informed. 

“If they’re talking to somebody in town, such as a business entity that I’m aware of, I don’t want to walk in to talk about sponsorship and be blindsided by their supporting of student-athletes in this endeavor instead of what I’m asking them,”  Director of Athletics Marty Bell said.

Currently, few Simpson athletes seem to be taking advantage of this opportunity. One of student media’s own SCTV News Director, Jake Brend, has tried his hand at it with a comedic advertisement for tennis lessons on Twitter that garnered over 2,000 likes.

While Division I colleges like Iowa and Iowa State’s students are more desirable for companies, due to their bigger names and their games being broadcasted on television, Division III athletes at Simpson can still be a part of the action.

With the way influencer culture has risen over the past few years, Division III athletes shouldn’t count themselves out when it comes to this. If it is done the right way and the work is put in, it could change how lower division student athletes stand in marketability.

Simpson College won’t stand in the way, but that doesn’t mean everything is free game.

“Just some guidelines so they understand what they can and can’t do,” Bell said. “They still can’t pay for play, and they can’t use it as a recruiting inducement. So, you can’t have coaches setting up name, image, and likeness compensation to entice a student to sign on to Simpson, and you certainly can’t create more compensation because they had a great game on Saturday.”