The Impact of NIL on College Sports

Ryan Bobb, Staff Writer

NIL – Name, Image, and Likeness, has had a significant impact on college sports since it was instituted in 2021. In that time, young athletes have gone from having to worry about meal money to potentially being millionaires.

With this policy in place, according to an NCAA Media post, student athletes are able to “engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located.” Additionally, the athletes “are able to profit off themselves in many ways,” which includes having “their name in commercials on TV.”

The top earners in NIL might surprise some people. According to Sports Illustrated staff, three of the top earners compete in women’s sports: LSU gymnastics star Livy Dunne who is estimated to be making 3.2 million dollars, UConn basketball star Paige Bueckers and Auburn gymnast Suni Lee. On the men’s side, it’s a little more predictable as football players dominate the top 3:  Alabama quarterback Bryce Young’s estimated value of $3.5 million, Early enrollee Texas quarterback Arch Manning’s at $3.7 million, and USC sophomore quarterback Caleb Williams at $3.2 million.

Some experts like Jay Bilas of ESPN say that NIL is good for college because it’s unfair for college kids to not be able to make money off their name when the NCAA makes billions of dollars from the student athletes playing who don’t make a single penny.

Ninth grade wrestler Kaylin Chin thinks NIL is positive and helps to prevent other issues from developing. “It’s good for the players as a way of making income for themselves, family, and friends instead of taking bribes no matter how small and getting a scholarship revoked or expulsion from the school.”

Another ninth grader, Kidus Teshome, who is on the track team, says NIL has its pros and cons: “While it’s a plus that the student athletes get paid the lucrative deals, it shouldn’t have any effect on where high schoolers go to school for sports. Getting paid  that much money can cause lots of stress and very high standards for young kids to meet.”

There’s no doubt that NIL has changed college athletics, though it is still left to be seen just how much.