How can the NIL marketplace prevent leaving certain athletes behind?
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Today, I'm happy to publish one of those freelance stories. I'm excited to turn today's newsletter over to my friend, Erin Sorensen of Hail Varsity. Erin and I have talked a lot over the last few weeks about the NIL market, and our mutual concern that certain athletes aren't being served effectivelly by that market, especially in the social endorsement space.
I'll turn the floor over to Erin, and I'll catch up with y'all at the end.
Over the past several weeks, many within college athletics have raised a specific concern about NIL.
What will NIL inequality do the locker room? What happens when the quarterback makes more than the offensive line?
Nick Saban brought it up. So have other commentators. It will almost assuredly come up again.
On one hand, locker rooms have never been equal. Professional athletes make vastly different amounts of money, and they mostly figure out how to operate. Even at the high school level, attention and prestige are not always distributed equally. The quarterback gets the quote in the newspaper. The offensive lineman usually doesn’t. With the right leadership and the right culture, everything still usually works out.
With so many NIL opportunities centered around social media and influencer marketing, the “glamour” positions will often opportunities. Smart leadership and smart locker rooms will find ways to mitigate this before it becomes too big of a locker room problem. We already have examples of QBs looking to share their NIL wealth with teammates, after all.
But there are other equity concerns really worth worrying about. There are potential opportunity gaps not just between positions, but between male and female athletes, and within those groups, white and non-white athletes.
So, what can we do? What is already being done?
I spoke with three women working in the NIL space: Jasmine Maietta of Round21, Kirby Porter of WillVentures and Tiffany Kelly of Curastory. They are three women of color, all working in various ways to ensure “no woman is left behind as the opportunity for college athletes unfolds.”
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