WSU athletics concludes first NIL Town Hall

Student-athletes, coaches headline speakers at the event 



WSU defenders Armani Marsh (8) and RJ Stone (10) pursue California quarterback Jack Plummer during an NCAA football match, Oct. 1.

BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor

The NCAA now allows student-athletes to make money off their brand. WSU held a town hall on Monday with athletes and coaches as guest speakers to discuss the development of NIL and why anyone should care about it. 

NIL is an acronym that stands for Name, Image and Likeness. Essentially, it means that student-athletes can now legally make money off themselves. Whether it be partnerships with businesses, selling their jerseys or signing autographs, they can make money off their likeness in whatever way they can brainstorm.

WSU has resources for athletes to connect with local and national businesses for potential deals. Nick Garner, director of student-athlete innovation at WSU, works with WSU athletes to help them brainstorm ideas and find ways to connect to potential business partners in NIL deals. 

“I think that the thing that excites me most is working with brands and businesses that I admire,” WSU swimmer Jewel Springer said. 

Outside of getting financial benefits, it is also a vital networking tool that will aid the athletes beyond their time at the university. It allows them to reach out to others professionally and engage in their hobbies and interests directly outside their sport or academics.

“Just gaining professional experience is extremely important and learning how to build your brand is nice,” WSU football player Armani Marsh said.

Whether it is large cooperations such as Nike or Patagonia or smaller local businesses, NIL allows student-athletes to understand how business deals work and will enable them to make money simultaneously. 

NIL is not just something that affects the student-athletes but also the coaches and other members of WSU athletics. 

It takes more of their time as they need to educate themselves and their players on the inner workings of NIL and how to utilize it properly. It is also becoming a significant factor in recruiting. 

Having more opportunities to give students full-ride scholarships, greater access to business deals and a more robust platform to promote themselves are all major pitches that schools can make to recruit recruits to their school. 

“My worry is finding that under-recruited kid and other schools backchanneling to get our players,” head football coach Jake Dickert said. 

While NIL is a significant first step to allowing student-athletes to make money, it is still lacking in the department of international athletes. WSU, especially in its women’s athletics, has a large pool of international athletes. 

With visa and labor laws, these athletes are not allowed to work in the US, meaning they are not given the same opportunities as their American counterparts. The only deals available to them are from their native nations, which are not as lucrative or easy to come by. 

“In my opinion, we need to find a way to take care of those international athletes,” head volleyball coach Jen Greeny said. 

It is an excellent opportunity for the students to make some extra cash to grow their brand. Still, for coaches and heads of each athletic department, it is a scary development that could spell disaster in terms of recruiting if the school falls behind.