After years of pressure, the NCAA finally reversed its regulations to allow student-athletes to profit off of their name, image, and likeness (NIL). This landmark reversal is a fundamental shift in the college athletics landscape, as now student-athletes can earn income from various revenue streams, like clothing lines, social media, appearances, and product promotion. Since the policy was officially implemented on July 1, athletes around the country began taking full advantage of this new era.
IU was among the administrations that embraced NIL changes early in the process. In fact, Indiana partnered with Opendorse’s “Ready” program back in 2020, a full year before the NCAA formally changed its policies. This program was designed to educate student-athletes on NILs in anticipation of potential NCAA rule changes. Today, Opendorse continues to have a close relationship with several Hoosiers. Most IU athletes have linked their Opendorse profile to their social media pages, allowing easy access for potential brands. Opendorse is an application designed to serve as an easy communication platform for athletes and companies to discuss potential deals. Through this platform, student-athletes can potentially be contacted by the over 1000 agents and over 3000 sports marketers who also use the platform.
Similarly, some athletes have chosen to hire marketing agents. Over 30 Hoosiers have even agreed to become part of Barstool Athletics, a new college marketing wing of Internet giant Barstool Sports meant to help amplify student athletes’ brands in exchange for promotion of Barstool products. Notably, this is reportedly a non-exclusive agreement, meaning athletes are free to sign with other marketing organizations or negotiate deals on their own.
There is also the independently run Hoosier Hysterics NIL Collective, which is a group that helps promote Indiana athlete deals as well as serves as an intermediary to help facilitate potential endorsements. The Collective has also received support from Mark Cuban and praise from the media for its out-of-the-box approach to supporting Indiana student-athletes.
Whether assisted by marketing machines or secured individually, numerous Indiana student-athletes have already announced NIL deals.
Here are some of the ways Indiana athletes are using their name, image, and likeness:
As Indiana basketball players are among the most in demand athletes early in the NIL era, it’s not surprising that Jackson-Davis has already inked several NIL deals.
Jackson-Davis most notably signed an agreement to become a brand ambassador for Merchants Bank of Indiana. Under the deal, Jackson-Davis will make personal appearances and appear in advertising campaigns to promote the bank’s various avenues of business, including residential mortgage banking, traditional community banking, agricultural lending, and facility financing.
In a press release, Merchants Bank Chairman Michael F. Petrie noted that the bank “moved quickly” to sign Jackson-Davis because he represented the bank’s values and “celebrates Hoosier traditions and spirit.”
Petrie stated, “Through this partnership and the Indiana University network, we are tapping into Trayce’s prominence and influence as a local athlete to garner more attention for the bank.”
Similarly, Jackson-Davis was excited about the opportunity, stating “I am impressed by the bank’s commitment to our local community and its deep connections to IU and the State of Indiana.”
Jackson-Davis has also released a custom T-shirt with Indianapolis-area brand The Shop.
But, these deals are likely the tip of the iceberg for the Big Ten star. With over 22,000 twitter followers and nearly 38,000 Instagram followers, Jackson-Davis is in prime position to attract more endorsement opportunities.
Sophomore Khristian Lander has also been quick to secure deals.
Lander was among the first Hoosiers to publicly announce an agreement with his partnership with Yoke Gaming.
Lander also reportedly is going to give 5 exclusive interviews to Sean Cavanagh, a renewable energy sales agent and longtime IU fan who is creating a new upcoming podcast “Cavanagh’s Corner.”
More recently, Lander’s Instagram bio lists him as a promo athlete for men’s jewelry brand GLD. Lander also has come out with a custom T-shirt in collaboration with The Shop.
On Twitter, Lander posted his support for Evansville-area insurance sales agent Jason Russell in what is most likely another NIL-based deal.
Anthony Leal, according to his Twitter, signed on to do 10 exclusive interviews with “Cavanagh’s Corner.” Leal also reportedly is hoping to hold a basketball camp. Previously, under NCAA regulations, players could not profit from holding camps or training younger children.
The IU freshman has also began to dabble in NIL opportunities before even stepping foot on the court in a regular-season game. Duncomb recently released a custom T-shirt in a collaboration with Nice Bison clothing.
New Indiana addition Xavier Johnson is pursuing deals on Cameo. His personalized videos can be booked for $50.
The sharpshooter Northwestern transfer started a behind-the-scenes YouTube vlog. In the video series, Kopp gives IU fans an exclusive look at the life of a college athlete. The vlog also provides an opportunity to showcase the team’s individual personalities.
Throughout the process, Kopp has emphasized that the video series is a creative outlet but his focus is on basketball, noting that the videos are only done in his spare time and will not be a distraction.
Geronimo also signed up for 5 exclusive interviews for “Cavanagh’s Corner.”
Like many Hoosiers, Phinisee partnered with The Shop to release a custom T-shirt. Phinisee’s design has reportedly been one of top college player releases at the store.
Thompson is yet another Hoosier to have a custom branded T-shirt with The Shop.
Like several of his teammates, Parker Stewart has released his own apparel. However, Stewart has decided to start his own brand “Stew.” Stewart notes on the brand website that he has always been into fashion and has always wanted to start his own clothing line. Now, with recent changes in the NCAA rules, Stewart finally has that opportunity.
Stewart has also signed on to do interviews with “Cavanagh’s Corner.”
On the football side, several IU players have also come out with clothing items. Mullen partnered with Homefield Apparel on his shirt.
Wide receiver Miles Marshall also has his own clothing merchandise. Marshall has six different shirt options, the most of any Hoosier.
Marshall also has promoted delivery service Gopuff.
Photo Credit: Rob Phinisee