College athletes now able to capitalize on their name, image, likeness

Published: Jul. 2, 2021 at 9:35 AM CDT
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BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - It’s a historic moment for college athletes. The stars of tomorrow now have the opportunity to capitalize today on their name, image and likeness. But what does it really mean for athletes?

Sponsored social media posts, autographs and training lessons or camps are all examples of how student athletes can now start making money.

The rule change is historic and could drastically change the college sports landscape. Several athletes with south Mississippi roots are quite excited about the potential to make money off their passion.

“It is going to be so exciting,” said LSU Gymnast Sarah Edwards. “We have really been looking forward to this moment. It has been in the works for years. We have heard about it through the grapevine, but I honestly didn’t expect to be around when it came in to play.”

The former Ocean Springs Greyhound has been making an impact for the Bayou Bengals for years. Now entering her fifth and final year, Sarah says the NIL rule change will push her to create and interact with the public more, especially on social media.

“There is more incentives to want to post on social media, to have more of a social media presence and just continue being the authentic version of yourself in person,” said Edwards. “It is going to be really good for student athletes to be able to start capitalizing on their name, image and likeness.”

Edwards already has thousands of followers on Tik Tok, Instagram, and Twitter. That could make her an attractive partner for brands both big and small. In the past, the inability to capitalize on their hard work and talent has put some athletes in a bind. While some struggled to get by, others feared their eligibility was jeopardized from time to time.

“Before, sometimes we would be so worried if someone tried to buy us coffee or buy our dinner, and we would honestly fear for our eligibility because someone is paying for something and we can’t accept that,” said Edwards.

Another Bayou Bengal has already partnered with a beloved establishment. Former Saint Stanislaus star quarterback Myles Brennan now leads LSU and will make money this upcoming season as a Raising Canes Ambassador.

While the long term effects remain unknown, what you can count on is that this rule change will change college sports forever.

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