AUSTIN (KXAN) — When you scroll on Instagram, don’t be shocked to see University of Texas athletes posting sponsorships soon.
Following Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature late Monday, Texas joins nearly 20 other states authorizing student athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness and receive outside sponsorships while competing at the collegiate level, effective July 1. While universities are still restricted from paying student athletes in any form outside of scholarships, the legislation is the latest update in a national conversation on compensation within collegiate sports.
The NIL legislation comes nearly a year after UT launched its LEVERAGE program last August, designed to teach student athletes how to market their personal brand and learn financial literacy skills to navigate future contracts and sponsorship opportunities.
Through this program, UT has been preparing for the upcoming NIL legislation to take effect. In a University of Texas Athletics article last August, then-head football coach Tom Herman said the program provides additional opportunities for athletes to hone in on their personal marketing skills.
“With the NIL opportunities coming in the near future, the establishment of the LEVERAGE program is a personal development area where we will provide unmatched resources when it comes to building our players’ brands,” Herman said last August. “The people they will meet, opportunities at their disposal and the resources our first-class Football and Athletics programs will provide are second to none, and this program is just another great reason to be a Texas Longhorn.”
But the new legislation has limitations on sponsorships athletes can accept.
Denoted exceptions to collegiate athlete sponsorships include “an endorsement of alcohol, tobacco products, e-cigarettes or any other type of nicotine delivery device, anabolic steroids, sports betting, casino gambling, a firearm the student athlete cannot legally purchase, or a sexually oriented business,” per the legislation.
Other provisions included in the bill are a mandatory financial literacy and life skills workshop required for first and third year students.
For football recruiting analyst Mike Roach, he said the latest legislation marks a new chapter of collegiate sports marketing and recruitment efforts.
"Right now, if you talk to kids who are coming off of any college visit, it's, it's kind of 'how can we take advantage of this and, you know, take this to be part of this next wave of college athletics?'” Roach said. “And so I think, you know, for Texas, they're prepared -- they were prepared the moment the bill was signed into law to, to roll out everything they had."
KXAN reached out to UT for further comment on the legislation and its impact on recruitment strategies for the upcoming year. Associates Athletics Director of Communications John Bianco said in an email the department is waiting on further NCAA legislative direction prior to comment.
But in a statement posted to the Texas Longhorns' Twitter account late Monday, Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said the LEVERAGE program is poised to adapt and meet the needs of UT athletes in this new era of collegiate sports.
"At Texas, we say 'What starts here changes the world,' and with this major step in the future of college athletics, we look forward to helping our student-athletes continue to do just that."