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Seven months into the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) era, student-athletes, athletic departments and businesses are still trying to figure out the right way to navigate this new landscape.

We were able to speak with several division athletes to hear their perspectives on NIL and how Universities could do a better job equipping student-athletes to thrive in this space.

We spoke with:


From these division one schools:


What Institutions can learn:

Ideas and opportunities for universities to improve the NIL experience for athletes.

NIL Advisors

Student-athletes want access to individuals or groups who can be made regularly available to answer their NIL questions.

“I think there needs to be more info sessions or people to reach out to with any questions. I’m sure I could find someone to talk to about it, but I don’t think it’s very easily accessible.”

Creative Resources

Student-athletes desire better creative service resources (photography, video, etc.) and locations to capture content with products.

Since we can’t use the school logo, I feel like they should give us access to better places where we can take pictures without the school brand present. Locations with better lighting and things like that that we could use that don’t break any of the rules.”

Social Media Promotion


Student-athletes want to see their universities use their owned platforms to promote individuals.

“I know there are certain rules that have to be followed, but I wish they would help promote athletes more on their social media pages.”

Promote and cultivate beyond sports


Athletes want to be represented not just for their sport, but for who they are as well-rounded individuals with diverse interests.

“[Athletic departments] should share their stories about where and how they grew up. Share what they do outside of sports – their hobbies, who they hang out with and who they are as people, so that fans can get an idea of who the person is behind the jersey and behind the helmet.”

Networking and money management resources


Athletes want to be provided more resources to help them connect with potential partners, alumni and money managers.

“They could seek out brands or local companies that are looking for athletes to partner with to give athletes somewhere to start looking for partnership opportunities.”

What student-athletes learned:

Take time to establish the DNA of your personal brand

Some student-athletes wish they would have taken the time to think about their personal brand, aesthetic, and core values.


“I wish I would have spent the prior 5 months on what my brand imagine would be.”

Find your brands

Once you’ve established the DNA of your own personal brand, research other brands that you love and that align with your core values .


“I started asking myself: ‘did I really want to work with this company, or did I just do this because it was an opportunity? I think I could have been more informed and had more of a plan of attack.”

Social media planning

Build out a social media map and posting plan you can follow with discipline.


“I would have had my social media plan mapped out. What I want to post and how I want to promote my brand. I also would have told myself to be more active on my social channels and diversify what I posted. Not just about sport but about other interests as well.”

Learn to manage your money and build your network

Educated yourself on money and network management skills.


“I wish would have tried to work on money and network management. Either by teaching myself or hiring a financial advisor.”

Be confident in yourself as a brand

Believe that you matter, and that people do value your opinions.


“I would tell myself to be a stronger advocate for myself, be more informed, reach out more, understand what I’m trying to represent more.”