WACO, Texas — As the calendar flipped from June to July, college sports changed forever.
At midnight July 1, a Texas state law which allows student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL) went into effect. The state law was aided by new NCAA rules passed only a day earlier.
At Baylor, members of the athletic department say they have been preparing for this day for years.
"There is a generational shift that's occurred that we have to respond to," Baylor Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs Jovan Overshown said. "But, we don't want to do that in a way that we lose sight of the beauty of the collegiate model. So, to me this is a new challenge."
Over the last few years, Baylor has worked with student-athletes to improve their personal brands, partnering with INFLCR (pronounced "Influencer") to provide athletes with professional photos and graphics to help bolster their social media presence.
"We [have been able to] educate them on the value of their brand," Overshown said. "Not value from a monetary standpoint, value from a personal future, career growth perspective."
With the passage of NIL laws, Overshown and Baylor can also turn their attention to helping teach student-athletes to monetize their brands as well.
"We think that many will take advantage of the opportunity," Chad Jackson, Baylor Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, said.
Jackson and the Baylor compliance team have spent the last month pouring over the state NIL bill since before Governor Abbott signed it into law June 14.
"The Texas State law is lengthy," he said. "We think we have decent command of it. We don't pretend to have exact command of it."
In general, the state NIL law allows student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness with some notable restrictions:
- Student-athletes cannot promote businesses in the alcohol, tobacco, gambling or adult entertainment industries.
- Businesses cannot partner with recruits.
- Student-athletes cannot use Baylor logos or facilities in NIL promotions.
- The phrase "Sic 'Em Bears" is Baylor intellectual property and cannot be used in promotions.
- Student-athletes cannot fulfill NIL contracts during team activities (i.e. practices or games).
- All NIL deals must be submitted to and approved by Baylor compliance officials.
"When you have deregulation, that means freedom," Jackson said. "We're starting from a permissible state of mind. It's likely gonna be permissible, but we're gonna vet just to make sure there's no conflicts. I used to say bring your dreams to us and we'll try to make them happen within the rule."
Already, multiple student-athletes have taken advantage of NIL deregulation. Matthew Mayer signed a deal to appear at Visiting Angels, a Central Texas senior care company, for a meet-and-greet Monday afternoon.
Both Mayer and teammate Jared Butler are on the video message app Cameo. More Baylor athletes will likely sign NIL deals in the next few weeks.
"Whatever happens in the early days, whether you want to say the first week, first month, first six months, we do not think it will be a predictor of the long term play here," Jackson said.
Compliance officers say there will be a temporary adjustment period as they continue to figure out the intricacies of the new laws, but they hope to stay on top of student-athlete deals moving forward.