Unlocking the Potential of NIL Money for Student-Athletes

A Comprehensive Interview with Casey Floyd of NOCAP Sports

Student-athlete working on personal brand at a press conference.

As a college sports enthusiast or student-athlete, you’re likely hearing the buzz around ‘NIL money.’

What does this new financial wave mean for athletes and the entire college sports industry?

In this exclusive interview with Casey Floyd of NOCAP Sports, we uncover how NIL money works.

This major rule shift in NCAA sports allows student-athletes to profit from their name, image, and likeness, catalyzing a major shift in the collegiate sports economy.

Key Takeaways

  • College athletes are cashing in on NIL deals, creating huge income opportunities through endorsements and partnerships while adhering to stringent NCAA rules.

  • Crafting a strong personal brand and social media presence is crucial for student-athletes to attract lucrative NIL deals; support from companies and parents plays a significant role in their NIL journey.

  • Reporting and compliance are vital to ensure NIL activities are legal and ethical, with enormous financial gains for athletes and brands that successfully navigate the NIL landscape.

NIL Money Unveiled – The Game Changer in College Sports

So, what’s the buzz about NIL money all about?

In essence, it’s a groundbreaking shift that allows college athletes to profit from their name, image, or likeness (NIL), transforming the dynamics of college sports.

As of July 1, 2021, the interim NIL policy became effective, enabling NCAA D1, D2, and D3 student-athletes to receive compensation for NIL use.

This policy applies to all student-athletes within these divisions (and even high school students, but that is subject to state law and local school district rules).

But the implications are massive, not just for the athletes, but for everyone around them.

Local businesses, for instance, have found a goldmine in NIL laws.

Remember that burrito restaurant near the college? They could now advertise with local athletes, opening up incredible opportunities to connect with their target audience like never before.

And it’s not just the businesses that are cashing in.

For the athletes, NIL deals are a new income stream that can be quite significant. Some of the most famous professional athletes rake in endorsement deals worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.

A even for other student-athletes, earning a few hundred dollars monthly can make a big difference.

But how do these opportunities come about? Enter NIL marketplaces, like NOCAP Sports, co-founded by our special guest expert Casey Floyd.

And NIL Collectives.

ABC New York reported that over 200 collectives exist across the United States as of 2023.

These groups, supported by donors, play a significant role in creating NIL opportunities for student-athletes.

One thing I want to explore further is how much money the COLLECTIVES take before paying the athletes.

Assuming the setup is optimized for the student players, athletes can profit from a multitude of activities, including:

  • signing autographs

  • posting on social media

  • teaching camps

  • promoting local businesses

  • performing community service.

It is essential to be aware of conference specific NIL rules that may apply to certain activities or restrictions.

    The impact of NIL laws on the lives of college athletes is far reaching.

    More exposure, more connections, and new income streams have improved their financial lives significantly.

    Startups and existing companies are have positioned themselves to assist athletes with designing and selling their merchandise and connecting with brands.

    They also help athletes make money from jersey sales while following NCAA guidelines.

    Student-athletes need to grasp the mechanics of NIL transactions.

    This involves navigating elements such as:

    • The role of collectives

    • The significance of social media

    • Earnings-determining factors (did you know there are algorithms commonly used by marketers to determine the social media value of an athlete?)

    • The policies and challenges to be navigated.

    Crafting Your Brand Image – Aesthetics Meet Athletics

    Creating a personal brand is a fundamental aspect of name image and likeness transactions.

    Prospective student athletes can now establish a unique, marketable image blending their sports performance and personal aesthetics, which is key for attracting profitable NIL deals.

    But what’s the process?

    The trick is to leverage both sports performance and personal aesthetics to create a personal brand that can attract sponsorships and endorsement deals, thus maximizing NIL potential.

    Some student-athletes who play college sports have excelled in building their brand image, scoring sponsorships, and endorsement deals in different areas.

    They’ve partnered with fast-casual restaurants for brand promotions, and college athletics programs are backing this influencer-like, brand-building aspect of NIL.

    Functionality in Play – Navigating the NIL Platform for Parents

    Parents have a significant part in guiding their children through the NIL platform. They can support their children by:

    • Offering counsel on the new NIL regulations

    • Recognizing career advancement opportunities

    • Backing them in NIL deals

    • Understanding financial implications

    • Advocating for proper research and registration on NIL platforms.

    College football player signing autographs in a crowded stadium

    There’s also a user guide for parents on the NIL platform that provides essential guidance for both athletes and their parents on how to get started with NIL and understand how to navigate this new space. Furthermore, parents ensure compliance with NIL rules by:

    • Acquiring advice from an attorney during negotiations

    • Navigating the terms effectively and protecting the athlete’s interests

    • Vigilant vetting to avoid any exploitation or unethical practices.

    NIL Money in Action – Reporting and Compliance

    Reporting and compliance are integral parts of NIL money, guaranteeing that student-athletes and brands stick to the rules and uphold a level playing field. Student-athletes need to report nil activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their respective schools, and all NIL money must be declared and the relevant taxes paid based on tax laws.

    It is also important to note that NIL deals must be based on a legitimate quid pro quo arrangement, and deals tied to an athlete’s enrollment at a particular school or contingent upon athletic performance are prohibited by the NCAA rules, including school specific nil rules.

    How Deals Translate to Dollars For Athletes and Brands

    NIL deals can translate to significant earnings for both athletes and brands. College athletes can earn money through endorsements, social media promotions, and fan events. The earnings from these deals typically range from $1,000 to $10,000 on average, with certain sports like football having an average NIL deal value of $3,390.95.

    But it’s not just the athletes who benefit. Brands can enhance their brand exposure and boost engagement on social media platforms, leading to increased brand recognition, customer loyalty, and ultimately higher earnings and revenue growth.

    The financial value of NIL deals is influenced by a multitude of factors, including:

    • The athlete’s performance

    • Market value

    • Social influence

    • Level of exposure

    • Previous verified deals

    • The size of the NIL market itself.

    On and Off the Field – Balancing Athletics with Endorsements

    Achieving a balance between athletic commitments and endorsement deals is challenging for a student athlete. They need to apply strategies such as time management, prioritizing sports and academic commitments, concentrating on endorsement deals that do not clash with these priorities, and meticulously planning their schedule to incorporate training, studying, and NIL-related activities. Student-athletes should consider endorsement deals that align with NCAA’s NIL rules while allowing flexibility to focus on their athletics and academics. These deals should require a manageable time commitment and relate to their personal brand and sport.

    Athletic departments are also stepping up to the plate, providing media resources for athletes to build their brand, offering insights through career services, and giving access to professionals who can address NIL legal concerns. This support system is helping student-athletes navigate the complexities of NIL agreements while staying focused on their sport.

    The Final Score – Is NIL Money Worth the Hype?

    Top NIL earners, femail, according to on3 sports valuation

    NIL money has certainly made a significant impact on college sports, including college football. It has created financial avenues for college athletes, with an astonishing $917 million estimated to have been made in the first year alone. Athletes, universities, and brands have all broadened their reach owing to the NIL rule change.

    The introduction of NIL money has also changed the dynamics between athletics and academia. It has added a new layer to athlete activism, as active NIL laws give athletes an economic incentive to be more outspoken and engage in social issues, leading to potential empowerment through exposure to brand management and other opportunities.

    Top NIL earners, male, according to on3 sports valuation

    However, like all seismic shifts, NIL money comes with potential risks and drawbacks. These include:

    • Exploitation and unfair competition by NIL deal brokers

    • Lack of oversight and regulation leading to abuse and corruption, highlighting the need for a comprehensive nil law

    • The risk of impacting athletic department funding

    Yet, the overall changes in the industry since the introduction of NIL money are monumental. Brands are projected to spend about $1.14 billion on NIL marketing by 2023, benefiting student-athletes who collectively made an estimated $917 million from NIL payments in the first year, increasing their economic status and visibility within the industry.


    In a nutshell, NIL money has revolutionized college sports, opening up new income streams for student-athletes and providing them with opportunities to build their personal brand. The introduction of NIL money has not only changed the financial landscape of college sports but also the dynamics between athletics and academia, with athletes gaining an economic incentive to be more outspoken and engage in social issues.


    However, the journey is not without its challenges. From navigating complex NIL transactions and regulations to balancing athletic commitments with endorsement deals, student-athletes, parents, and colleges have their work cut out for them. But with the right strategies and support, the potential benefits of NIL money are enormous, making it a game-changing development in college sports.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a NIL fund?

    NIL fund refers to the financial compensation that college athletes are allowed to receive for the use of their name, image, and likeness in marketing and promotional activities. It's exciting to see athletes being recognized for their value!

    Where is NIL money coming from?

    NIL money for college athletes is coming from endorsements, as companies can now sponsor college athletes and use their images and names in advertisements, creating new opportunities for both athletes and companies to connect with the college demographic. Exciting, right?

    How much NIL money is being paid?

    College athletes can make anywhere from $1,000 to $10,000 on average through NIL deals, but some have earned even more! Exciting opportunities await student-athletes looking to make money through NIL deals.

    How does the NIL money work?

    You can earn NIL money by signing an NIL contract, which allows you to market your personal brand and receive financial compensation for the use of your name, image, and likeness. It's a fantastic opportunity for college athletes to benefit from their own image and gain financial support.

    What are NIL laws and how do they impact college sports?

    NIL laws are a game-changer for college athletes, allowing them to earn money through their name, image, or likeness and creating new opportunities for businesses and brands. It's an exciting time for college sports!