NIL Year 2: Expect boosters, schools to clash on ‘collectives’

USC coach Lincoln Riley gestures during a team practice session in March.

USC coach Lincoln Riley gestures during a team practice session in March.

(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

USC and UCLA donors have not announced collectives – still. It feels like an inevitability, despite efforts by schools to divest themselves of legitimate NIL activities with their support.

UCLA provided training for each athlete before and shortly after the NIL rule changes and worked with the business school and other campus resources to help each Bruins athlete make informed NIL decisions.

In April, UCLA announced the creation of the Westwood Exchange, which will allow corporations, donors, fans and alumni to register with the school so they can connect with athletes seeking NIL opportunities, autograph sessions, private lessons in their respective sports and public appearances, sports camps and social media promotion, among other possibilities. The initiative is aimed at small, local businesses looking to hire UCLA athletes, and could be particularly beneficial in landing deals for those competing in lesser-known sports.

On June 15, USC announced an agreement with Stay Doubted, which bills itself as “a modern media agency empowering the next generation of student-athletes and fans to deliver enhanced NIL services to their student-athletes.” The message was that the Trojans don’t need a collective to be competitive in NIL in all sports, not just football.

“It’s important for the general reader to understand that NIL has created a need for new positions in college athletic departments — not just one, but five, six, because of demand,” says Lawrence. “Compliance offices are becoming talent agents and marketing agents, reviewing agreements. This is outside of their experience. A sign that a school is truly committed to NIL is hiring full-time staff or contractors to serve in a similar capacity.”

Says Heitner, who worked with USC on the Stay Doubted partnership, “I often hear from athletes and their families that they don’t feel competently represented. Certainly the starting quarterback at USC will have experienced agents representing him, but what about the rest of the athletes?”

How long before Stay Doubted and Westwood Exchange are joined by a full USC and UCLA collective?

Stay tuned. NIL Year 2: Expect boosters, schools to clash on ‘collectives’

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