On April 20, 2021, Alabama governor Kay Ivey signed into law a name, image, and likeness (NIL) bill, making Alabama the tenth state to join the movement of allowing athletes to receive compensation for NIL. Starting on July 1, 2021, Alabama athletes can profit from NIL through endorsements, sponsorships, social media marketing, personal appearances, autographs, and other uses of their name, image, and likeness.
While state of Alabama NIL laws will have yet to be seen long-term implications, the immediate shift in NCAA rules means college athletes can start making money now. But how?
Because the new guidelines have created a gray area, lawyers and athletes from different states are sorting out what NIL can look like for them. One thing is for sure: Alabama athletes don’t need to wait before beginning to take advantage of the new opportunities that come from the state of Alabama NIL rules.
Currently, the NCAA reports that the NIL rules are temporary until Congress creates clearer regulations through national laws. Until that happens, state laws will rule the NIL landscape, meaning University of Alabama athletes, Alabama State athletes, University of Miami athletes, University of Central Alabama athletes, and all other NCAA student athletes can profit from their NIL starting now.
Below, you’ll find a guide for anyone asking how can my company sponsor Alabama athletes and for the athletes themselves wondering how to profit from NIL. But before looking at the opportunities new NIL laws afford each school, it’s important to understand the unique provisions of the state of Alabama NIL law.
The state of Alabama NIL law sets forth several key rules. While other states have enacted similar laws, the details of Alabama NIL law try to more clearly define the limitations of what student athletes can do while also making the punishment for misuse clear.
One unique provision is that Alabama NIL law gives college and universities the option to prohibit student athletes from signing contracts with brands or companies from these categories: tobacco, alcohol, controlled substances, adult entertainment, casinos and entities that promote gambling activities, as well as any entity that “negatively impacts or reflects adversely on the postsecondary educational institution or its athletic programs.”
Alabama NIL law also allows schools to prevent student athletes from entering into contracts that conflict with contracts held by the college. And in order to monitor both of these situations, Alabama NIL law requires student athletes to disclose proposed contracts for review prior to execution and receipt of any compensation.
Keeping with the theme of keeping a close hold on NIL potential, Alabama NIL law prevents student athletes from entering into contracts that would use “any registered or licensed marks, logos, verbiage, or designs” of their school without the express, written permission of the colleges or universities. The permission may include fees, for the use by the college or university, “by agreement of all parties.”
Like many other states, Alabama NIL law doesn’t allow schools to directly compensate their own students for the use of their NIL in order to prevent the use of NIL as a recruiting inducement or performance reward. In addition to this, Alabama NIL law makes it clear that all officers, directors, and employees of the school (as well as sponsors and boosters) cannot compensate student athletes or their families for the use of their NIL.
Alabama NIL law also sets forth a new governing body to monitor the unfolding of how NIL affects college sports. The newly established Alabama Collegiate Athletics Commission (which includes the governor, the lieutenant governor, the president pro tempore of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the minority leaders of the Alabama Senate and House of Representatives, and the chair of the Alabama Athlete Agents Commission) is responsible for making and clarifying the rules that help both schools and athletes abide by the law.
The Alabama Collegiate Athletics Commission will consult with others who have knowledge on NIL to best pursue transparency and monitor compliance with Alabama NIL law. Lastly, Alabama NIL law comes with specific reporting obligations for potential violations—including a stipulation that violation of this law (by either individuals or student athletes) will result in a Class C felony, which includes punishments of up to 10 years in prison.
Alabama NIL law is more than just cookie cutter legislation. In an effort to better educate and inform student athletes and their schools, Alabama NIL law goes above and beyond in stipulating how NIL works in the state of Alabama.
Source: Todd Kirkland/Getty Images
For business owners who want to know how can my company partner with a University of Alabama athlete, it’s important to first understand the basics of NIL. When you’re looking for athletes to represent your brand, you want those who are available and recognizable. Available means that it’s best if the athletes haven’t signed with other brands and therefore diluted your advertising power. Recognizable means you want the best athlete for your specific business—whether that student is nationally or locally known is dependent on your goals.
The University of Alabama has some very clear rules about what is and is not allowed. For example, University of Alabama employees cannot arrange for student athletes to participate in NIL contracts or activities. However, the student athletes themselves (or their respective representatives) may negotiate a deal.
Also, student athletes cannot receive compensation for engaging in team activities. That means a student athlete cannot receive payment for their NIL when engaged in something officially organized by the University of Alabama.
Compared to other states, Alabama NIL law has the most regulations and restrictions. That means if you are a brand or business that wants to partner with University of Alabama athletes, it will help to work with someone who knows this landscape. Icon Source can connect you to your ideal brand ambassador and help you navigate the complex NIL waters. Contact us to learn more about your company’s NIL potential.
As one of the most well recognized programs in the country, The University of Alabama is ripe for student athletes hoping to take advantage of their NIL potential. In fact, several athletes have already signed with brands or agencies.
Slade Bolden, Jahvon Quinerly and Jaden Quinerly have partnered with Christopher Mobley, a men’s clothing store in Tuscaloosa. Offensive lineman Tommy Brown announced a partnership with Rama Jama's, a local dining spot near Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa.
Also, Alabama men's basketball guard Nimari Burnett and women's wheelchair basketball athlete Bailey Moody have partnered with Degree deodorant—a company looking to spend $5 million over the next five years to expand the Degree's Breaking Limits Team.
But these are just some of many examples. If you’re an athlete looking to find a sponsor to partner with and profit off of your NIL, it’s important to connect yourself with a group that can provide you the resources you need as you navigate this complicated market.
Student athletes already have their days full of academics, sports activities, and studying. NIL is only going to add to those everyday burdens. With Icon Source, student athletes can manage their profiles on a single mobile app—which sends all required reporting data directly to the school, or to the school's desired disclosure software.
And what about taxes? No matter how many deals, large or small, that an athlete completes on Icon Source, they will be provided a single 1099. Most importantly, Icon Source forces brands to use a single contract, non-editable, which protects the students from unforeseen issues.
Icon Source was founded in 2018 by Chase Garrett, former Athlete Marketing Manager at Red Bull, and is now leading the way in helping athletes make the most of their NIL while also partnering with brands to ensure the creation of mutually beneficial relationships between athletes and companies.
If you’re not sure where to start, contact someone at Icon Source and get your questions answered today.
Source: Auburn University Athletics
Alabama University athletes are already taking advantage of their NIL potential. In fact, quarterback Bo Nix signed the first NIL deal for Auburn athletes (with Milo’s Tea) at 12:02AM the day that Alabama NIL law went into place.
Other notable signings include Smoke Monday who announced that he’s joining several other college football players in partnering with College Football Edits, an Instagram account with more than 75,000 followers. Also, more than a dozen Auburn football players have signed with YOKE Gaming
Outside of football, gymnast Derrian Gobourne, winner of Auburn gymnastics' first national championship in April 2019 on vault, is partnering with Salute Leos and even designing a unique leotard for the brand. Also, women's golfer Mychael O’Berry has joined the many athletes signing with Barstool Sports.
While many athletes can be seen partnering with known brands and large companies, it’s the local restaurants and businesses that also have much to gain. Something like player autographs on menus is an example of the creativity businesses can use when partnering with athletes and taking advantage of their NIL potential.
If you work for a company that wants to know what athletes are available and recognizable, Icon Source can help you collaborate with Auburn University athletes when you contact us today.
The University of Auburn announced the launch of their NIL program named SPIRIT, which is designed to educate and empower student athletes to take advantage of upcoming NIL opportunities.
The SPIRIT initiative fits within AuburnYOU, Auburn Athletics' comprehensive program designed to support the total student athlete experience. The purpose will be to walk alongside students as they learn about brand management, social media best practices, time management, financial literacy, financial aid and more. One unique focus of Auburn is that players cannot receive a sponsorship with any athletic brand other than Under Armour.
With that in mind, it’s important that Auburn athletes know the best NIL practices to ensure they’re operating within the law. Whether an athlete is simply looking for free gear or a way to make some extra cash, or if they’re looking to turn their personal brand into a long-term business, there are opportunities to do both.
Icon Source can help connect athletes to the brands they know and love, while also showing them other opportunities to get the most out of their NIL. If you’re an athlete looking for sponsorship, or if you’re just interested in learning what is out there, contact us to learn more about the state of Alabama NIL laws and how they might impact you.
Source: University of Alabama at Birmingham Athletics
When it comes to Alabama NIL law, UAB is looking ahead to see what they can do to make the NIL experience efficient and easy for athletes and businesses alike. In an effort to do just that, they signed a deal with INFLCR, a content delivery and compliance platform.
"Our long standing partnership with INFLCR has never been more important as we enter the era of Name, Image and Likeness," said UAB Director of Athletics Mark Ingram. "Jim Cavale and his company have done a tremendous job to equip our student-athletes with educational and tangible resources to assist them in their NIL journey."
The use of third-parties and software developers is going to continue to become more and more prevalent as people discover the best ways to connect and partner with student athletes.
Whatever your goals, Icon Source can help businesses navigate the tricky waters of working with both athletes and their respective universities. So if you’re asking how can my company partner with Alabama athletes, then you’ve come to the right place. Reach out to someone today and we’ll answer any of your questions.
Since the new Alabama NIL laws were announced, the UAB Department of Athletics announced the RISE program, a dedicated resource to assist UAB student athletes with NIL.
RISE is built to provide UAB student athletes with technology, education, and tools to succeed in the NIL world and has four main focuses:
As UAB athletes work to learn and grow through the RISE program, it’s always helpful to have other resources at their disposal. IconSource is a great resource for anyone looking to navigate the NIL wild west. If you have any questions, or any specific athletes, brands, or businesses you’d like to connect with, contact us and we’d be happy to learn more about your goals.
Student athletes, universities, and companies should pay close attention to the continuing developments in both the state of Alabama NIL law and national laws that may be forthcoming.
Additional legislation will inevitably come up as all parties discern what NIL means for college sports and how businesses and brands can be a part of helping college athletes get paid.
While there remains a variety and inconsistency of laws at the state level, the possibility that Congress may pass federal NIL legislation is also possible. If you’re a student athlete or brand wondering what all this might mean for you, talk to Icon Source to stay up-to-date with the latest news and ahead of the latest trends.