AUSTIN (KXAN) — Don’t expect any laws to pass at the federal level on how college athletes can make money off their name, image and likeness anytime soon, an expert in the field says.
Ayden Syal, the chief executive officer and co-founder of MOGL, a company that provides technology for college athletes and collectives to connect with businesses interested in making NIL deals, said it would make it easier to do business if federal laws were passed, but he doesn’t think that’ll happen for at least 2-3 years.
It has been up to individual states to pass laws that permit eligible college athletes to partner with brands and other businesses for deals since the inception of NIL in 2021.
“It’ll happen eventually,” Syal said. “We’re not holding our breath for when it will occur, but it’s probably about 2-3 years out from a Congressional perspective. There are a lot of things on the docket. The initial rulings came and went, and the sky hasn’t fallen, despite what headlines might tell you.”
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“There are guardrails there now, and collectives and the universities are now working at a much closer level following that policy,” Syal said. He mentioned the Texas One Fund, UT’s super-collective of sorts after five separate collectives pooled their resources together to form it, as an example. Horns with Heart, Clark Field Collective, Occupy Left Field, 40 Pack and the National Championship Golf Foundation merged in November to create the fund.
“We wanted to make giving easily accessible to everyone and create a bigger connection to the athletic programs, athletes, and community. Whether you are giving $5 or $5 million, we want to make this something for every Longhorn,” said Nick Shuley, the founder of Clark Field Collective said about the creation of the Texas One Fund. “Texas has the luxury of having so many organizations that want to help, but we quickly saw the need to get everyone in the community together.”
Athletes at UT have taken full advantage of NIL opportunities with lucrative deals, particularly ones on the football team. Longhorns head coach Steve Sarkisian said that while he embraces NIL and the vast resources UT has to offer to put money in athletes’ pockets, he doesn’t want players using that as a decision-making tool.
“If you’re choosing to come here because of NIL, you’re coming here for the wrong reasons,” he told reporters in November after the regular season ended and recruiting was coming into focus. “Our football program, the academics, the history and tradition, the city of Austin — there’s so much this university has to offer, and that’s why I want kids to come here. Then, NIL can become a factor.”
Syal and former Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush, who is the chief athlete officer at MOGL, both agree that as NIL becomes bigger and evolves with more regulation and structure, it will only get better for both the athletes and brands. Wimbush compared NIL to business classes done in a real-life setting, and athletes are building real-world skills from when their playing days are done.
“Becoming an entrepreneur, a creative and a professional outside your sport is so important now,” Wimbush said. “Brands aren’t going to want to engage with you if you can’t communicate professionally or add value to their products or services. Athletes are understanding what it’s like, and they’re getting a four-year head start.”