When the University of Texas at San Antonio scored a thrilling victory over the University of Alabama-Birmingham and fans flocked to the Alamodome field, Mayor Ron Nirenberg was spotted with official merchandise from UTSA running back Sincere McCormick.
The same shirt – show the words “Run 3MC” in the same font as the 1980s hip-hop group Run DMC logo – was flaunted shortly after by one of the hosts on the Rich Eisen Show, a national sports talk show.
It’s a novel sight. Not only because the UTSA soccer team has a newfound national profile, but also because college athletes have never before been able to make money from their fame without breaking NCAA rules.
In the summer, new NCAA rules went into effect that allow student athletes to receive compensation for using their name, picture, or picture – so-called NIL deals. The changes came amid a growing number of state laws, including Texas law, and opened the floodgates for student athletes to benefit from promoting brands, appearances, or simply signing memorabilia.
The new rules come at a time when UTSA’s Roadrunners soccer team briefly rose to the AP Top 25 college football rankings as a program in their eleventh season as they won their first eleven games and will soon be joining the American Athletic Conference, a move up from his current league, Conference USA.
UTSA’s success on the soccer field could not have come at a better time for players who now have the freedom to capitalize on their fame.
However, if success leads to more deals, the effect has so far been subdued.
Steve Lautz, Associate Athletic Director at UTSA who handles disclosure forms for NIL deals, said there has not been a “dramatic increase that some people might expect from the success we have had in the field.”
“Maybe it’s a little surprising,” he said, but the most prominent athletes have already received offers.
Case in point: McCormick, who has set a handful of school records this season, already has about 10, including a deal with 7 to 7 dentists and orthodontists that he paid $ 1,000 a month to see on his social -Media accounts to promote. He was also recently featured in a video spot for Red McCombs Ford West dealer with Rashad Wisdom.
McCormick said he had offers “here and there” during the team’s historic season, but knocked many away because they didn’t fit into his busy schedule of juggling classes, training and games. “Some companies let you do a lot for a little. And as a player you don’t have time. “
To help its athletes benefit from the new rules and comply with the NCAA rules, UTSA has launched an in-house training program called Runners Go Bold that teaches players how to find their way around the new room, a personal brand maintains and develops financial knowledge. It relies on experts from its business school.
Under the NCAA’s new rule, players cannot receive payments from their schools in exchange for the use of their name, picture, or picture, and there are other restrictions as well.
McCormick said the money he gets from his businesses is a welcome relief to him and his family. Previously, he had worked for a moving company during the school year and also at Walmart.
He said most of the money he made from it went to his mother and one-year-old daughter. He recently bought her a pair of Jordan shoes, a Mercedes toy car, and held a Minnie Mouse-themed birthday party for her.
“She’s a little spoiled at the moment,” he said jokingly.
McCormick’s teammates have landed their own paid advertising appearances, including quarterback Frank Harris’ deal with UTSA Roadrunners podcast Alamodome Audible and defensive lineman Lorenzo Dantzler’s deal with personal computer building service Artesian Builds. Fritz Kennel, a Houston-based dog and cat daycare center, pays running back Brenden Brady and fellow gamers to post pictures of their dogs on social media.
The compensation provided in NIL deals is nowhere near the level of endorsements signed by players in the NFL or NBA.
“Not even close,” said Jonathan Pixley, a senior executive at MatchPoint, a consultancy that connects influencers with businesses. “The biggest mistake we’ve seen was that everyone thought they were going to make $ 100,000.”
Most athletes, he said, will have deals worth hundreds of dollars, a few in a few thousand.
At UTSA, most NIL stores don’t even involve cash. Lautz, UTSA’s sports director who sees every NIL deal accepted, said most of the terms and conditions signed with the school’s athletes promise compensation in the form of products and merchandise like a t-shirt or coupon instead of cash.
The school’s athletes have a total of around 70 offers, said Lautz. Soccer players have more offers than the school’s athletes in soccer, golf and other sports.
But whether the success of UTSA means more or bigger deals in the future remains to be seen.
“Even speculating where it’s going is foolish,” said Pixley. The NCAA is already changing its constitution to address “loose ends” in regulating NIL business.