Experts agree that these kinds of limitations can make it difficult to gain a sizable profit from NIL deals, especially compared with the revenue some players bring to the university and the NCAA.
Richard Borghesi is a professor of business and corporate finance at the University of South Florida. In his article, “Pay for Play: The Financial Value of NCAA Football Players,” he argues that if college football players were compensated “according to their revenue-generating abilities then five-, four-, three-, and low-star players would be entitled to annual salaries of $799,000, $361,000, $29,000, and $21,000, respectively, in addition to athletic scholarships covering tuition, books, and room and board.” (For now, student athletes are not entitled to earn salaries from their universities.)
Brendan Radley Hiles, a defensive back for the UW football team, has confirmed NIL deals with Champs Sports, Eastbay and Fashion Nova. Having acquired nearly 170,000 followers on Instagram, “Bookie” Hiles, as he’s known, has taken on a marketing team and business manager to assist in his NIL ventures. This team handles business inquiries and works with Hiles to negotiate partnerships.
Unlike some of his teammates and other student athletes at UW, the defensive player has earned significant money from his business dealings. Hiles declined to disclose exactly how much, but some estimates suggest players can make as little as $1,000 or as much as a $1 million in NIL endorsement deals. Hiles believes the university should prepare student athletes to deal with sometimes sizable contracts.
“I think financial literacy training is everything — we need it,” he says. “Why? Because [student] athletes are being thrown into this business, and we aren’t really taught how to manage our money. Student athletes have to want to learn these things and want to understand this type of information.”
According to Hiles, the terminology used in brand contracts can be complicated and overwhelming. He explains: “With NIL, it’s a lot of money that you’re dealing with. It’s not just $100, $200, $500. There’s $20,000 or $50,000 that could be going to a 17- or 18-year-old kid.”
University of Washington student athletes are continuing to educate themselves and others on the intricacies of NIL deals and how they apply to the UW. It will take time to fully adjust to this new reality. But for now, UW athletes have finally begun to take important steps to market themselves, their brand, and what they stand for.