What is NIL?

NIL stands for Name, Image and Likeness.

To me, NIL refers to the ability and right of every collegiate athlete to profit off themselves – via their Names, Images and Likenesses. In Tennessee, NIL was recently extended to high school athletes under a strict set of rules.

Interestingly, an athlete’s NIL value may not be based on athletic performance. Remember, NIL is based on fame and celebrity. It is not uncommon to find the best player on a team possess an inferior NIL value compared to a less talented, more popular player.

At this moment in time – March, 2023 – there is a lot of uncertainty regarding NIL and its future. One thing is for sure: regulation seems inevitable. And I think it will occur within 18 – 36 months on a likely Federal level. Maybe sooner.

Consider what SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said about NIL in July, 2021: “It will be different going forward. We’re in a transformational moment in college athletics. Many of us have to reconsider what we expect from college sports and how that is going to be administered.”

I agree.

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