When the “interim” rules on Name, Image and Likeness were introduced on July 1, 2022, it changed the landscape of collegiate athletics forever. While it opened up a whole myriad of issues in terms of how money is being spent and how it plays a role in recruiting, it has also done a lot of good.
The NCAA used to leverage the purposefully equivocal “student-athlete” term to imply that they are neither students playing sport, nor a sportsman at work. As athletes, they had to reach the academic standards of their peers. As students, they could not be compensated for anything beyond cost of studies and livelihood.
College athletes were thus tangled in a vague web of NCAA bylaws that held them hostage in a business model that did not compensate its employees in salary. Meanwhile, it profited from their product to the tune of a billion dollars in revenue.
Part of that is still the case. However, NIL allows for athletes to receive financial compensation and it has leveled the playing field in terms of the revenue gap between NCAA and its athletes. At least to some, small degree.
In addition to athletes finally being able to achieve their financial worth, NIL has been great for people around the program. Earlier this week, for example, Texas running back Bijan Robinson donated $3,000 of supplies to a local charter school. The students’ reaction was priceless.
Another unique NIL deal came to light at USC this week.
In an effort to avoid booster-run collectives, USC got out ahead of the legislation and formed BLVD LLC prior to July 1, 2021 to handle all things Name, Image and Likeness internally. It has done a pretty good job thus far and its most recent announcement is its coolest yet.
When the Trojans take the field this fall, BLVD is making sure that 50+ families can be in attendance to watch their sons, brothers, nephews, etc. play. It will provide travel and accommodations, meaning plane tickets, hotels and all of that logistical, often costly stuff.
In turn, the athletes will post BLVD content to their social media profiles.
There are a lot of local Los Angeles-area players on the USC roster. Their families are typically able to get to games more often than those who live in, say, Iowa.
BLVD is making sure that the latter can make it to as many games as the former. It, presumably, will allow for families to travel to away games as well. That’s really neat. It could also become a very important recruiting tool as Lincoln Riley and his staff tries to recruit nationally.