On July 1, NCAA athletes across the country added a new task to their student planners: get a sponsorship deal.
After a series of new state laws and NCAA rule changes gave athletes the right to sell their name, image, and likeness (NIL), college players could finally cash in.
Some pitched themselves directly to brands on social media. Hundreds of others signed up to get exposure via Barstool Athletics, a sports-talent offshoot of the media publisher Barstool Sports. And some turned to alternative forms of monetization, like recording videos on the shout-out app Cameo.
As students raced to get noticed by brands, many colleges publicly celebrated the rule change, issuing press releases to showcase how current students and prospective recruits could profit from joining their teams. But behind the scenes, some administrators began crafting policies to limit the types of brand deals a student could accept.
An Insider review of dozens of NIL policies at universities across the country revealed that many schools have rules in place to prevent students from cannibalizing existing contracts with sponsors.