AUSTIN (KXAN) — Up until this year, signing day has typically just meant a chance to play at the next level, but thanks to new name, image and likeness legislation that allows college athletes to make money off scholarships, it now also means this crop of recruits has a chance to cash in off the field.
“It’s awesome,” Regents quarterback and Vanderbilt signee said of the new NIL rules. “It’s a great opportunity for these student-athletes that work very hard. It’s obviously huge that student-athletes get to be rewarded like that and it’s something I definitely look forward to in the future.”
“I’m never gonna be mad about making a little bit of money, but I think it’s an interesting thing they’re doing and I think, honestly, they’ll probably start a little domino [effect] sort of deal,” Connor Robertson, said.
For Robertson, an offensive lineman who will play for a state title with Westlake on Saturday, he’s guaranteed $50,000 per year thanks to a new NIL deal at Texas just for offensive linemen.
“I’m sure some other schools will probably try to do it, but it’s a cool thing,” Robertson said.
With position-specific deals and multiple outside organizations creating NIL deals for individual schools, the potential for guaranteed money, like offensive linemen get at Texas, could start swaying prospects to certain schools.
“I think it changes everything,” Will Stone, a kicker at Regents and Texas signee, said. “I think that some of the new programs Texas has made and funded has really actually just fueled all of the recruits to potentially commit to UT. I think that’s gonna really help the University of Texas with all of its funding in the future.”
While the potential for making money may affect some decisions, the biggest factor is still seems to be what happens between the lines.
“My big focus is football,” Manor receiver and Pittsburgh signee Che Nwabuko said. “Getting my starting spot, learning what to do, learning the mechanics of Pittsburgh. That’s really it.”
“To me, it’s definitely not the most important thing, not anywhere close to the most important thing,” Robertson said. “I would still be coming to Texas if there was no NIL deals or anything like that.”
“For me, it hasn’t changed really anything,” Westlake QB and Clemson signee Cade Klubnik said. “I know that I’m there to play football and NIL will just kinda, it’ll come and go based on how you do. It’s not a guarantee.”