Name, image and likeness opportunities for college athletes is nearing a month old. And by most accounts around the ACC Kickoff on Thursday, coaches and student-athletes alike are still figuring it out.
That’s not the case for everyone. The day before, Bojangles announced deals with two of the ACC’s prominent quarterbacks, North Carolina’s Sam Howell and Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei. Florida State’s McKenzie Milton has been on the NIL forefront, establishing a program called Dreamfield with Miami quarterback D’Eriq King to help fellow players navigate a relatively new situation.
Polling of players in the Atlantic Division featured a mixture of players focused mainly on the field, nervous about approaching deals and eager for other players around the conference and nation to profit on their NIL, which became legal July 1.
Here’s what a few players and one ACC coach had to say when it came to their understanding and approach regarding NIL.
Jaquarii Roberson, Wake Forest wide receiver and redshirt senior
“I have this little deal in the making with Cameo, so if anybody wants a shoutout for their birthday. (Laughs). But I have that. I just think it’s a great opportunity for us and it’s definitely long overdue. And it’s exciting to see guys that can make money off their names, image and likeness and I just think it’s a great opportunity for all student-athletes across the country.”
Scott Satterfield, third-year Louisville coach and former Appalachian State coach
“We all are (learning) – every coach across the country. Players are learning about it as we speak. Compliance departments are still learning. ... I hear some of these numbers, I don’t know if they’re true or not, you know with some of the guys. I know some of our guys have signed some deals, which is awesome. It’s great that they’ve been able to do this. Probably one of our biggest marketable people on our campus is a female basketball player. She’s tremendous, and so she’s got great opportunity. That’s great.
“So as we head forward we’re going to learn more about it and we’ll see where it goes. Obviously the big-name guys, you’re going to be making more money. One of the big question marks is how’s it gonna affect the team. To our guys’ credit, and our leadership in our team, they recognize and they’ve already said this: That we’ll have more opportunities for NIL the better we are and the more we play for each other. So they recognize that. So it’s not about them as an individual, it’s about ‘Hey, how can we be as a team?’ And now these individual things will end up happening.”
Jermaine Johnson II, Florida State defensive end
“I just focus on keeping the main thing the main thing. My priority is being a football player. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t. So I can focus every day on being a great football player and having my family and whoever else helped me navigate the NIL stuff. But I have to focus on being a great football player not only for myself, but for this program. “
Payton Wilson, N.C. State inside linebacker
“We actually have a class, from 5 to 6 once a week, just going over rules and regulations. I don’t know anything about taxes being a college student, and we have to do stuff with taxes now, so we have educational programs that are really helping us out.”
Airon Servais, Syracuse offensive lineman and redshirt senior
“You’ve definitely got to get kind of creative with some of the different things you can do, because obviously you’ll need to think about stuff, but there’s all kinds of different things. I’ve been a little slow of a go because this is big-boy stuff when you start talking about contracts. I don’t want to make an honest mistake with something and I end up getting sued or whatever it might be. So definitely trying to take my time and really look at contracts and see if it’s a smart thing to do or not.”
“Just being part of Dreamfield has just given us the opportunity to think about life after football and at the same time help educate these college athletes on filing taxes, setting their market rate for what they feel their value is, getting in contact with local businesses, whether it’s an autograph signing, to get connected to fans, get some free food, things like that. Just little things that we weren’t able to capitalize off before, just being able to see that has been pretty cool the past couple weeks. I’m excited to see what these college athletes, what they run and do it, whether it’s making podcasts, YouTube podcasts, channels, whatever their own merchandise. It’s something that’s pretty cool.”
“I signed with a marketing agency, VaynerSports, with AJ Vaynerchuk and Gary V. The whole idea of that was to make sure my goal is I want to be a student-athlete. So school comes first. I want to graduate. I want to be a football player second. I want to make sure all my focus is on those two. In my off time I can have people worry about my branding, NIL and stuff like that. That’s how I’m treating the NIL.”