Student Athletes Getting Paid!? U of Montana Signs Groundbreaking NIL Deal
The new college athletics landscape is about the transfer portal and getting student athletes paid thanks to NIL. Love it or hate it, it's here to stay.
What is NIL?
For those not up-to-speed, NIL stands for "Name, Image and Likeness." It allows student-athletes to profit off of their own name, image, and likeness. Makes sense right? The NCAA, finally, altered the rule to allow athletes to make money off their own selves just over two years ago in July 2021.
It has been a tumultuous two years attempting to grasp what NIL looks like in its current state, but there's some good to come out of the new wild, wild west landscape. In just a few short years, a handful of college athletes have cashed in and made some serious bank. Former Alabama Crimson Tide quarterback, and first overall pick in the NFL draft, Bryce Young made an estimated 1 million dollars in 2022. LSU Gymnast Olivia Dunne has reportedly made "over a million dollars." Uconn Basketball star Paige Bueckers earned the first impactful NIL deal and had a chance to bring in a couple of million dollars.
Griz sign teamwide NIL deal
The Grizzlies might not be earning as much as Young, Dunne or Bueckers, but the University of Montana announced a teamwide NIL deal for the Montana Grizzlies Soccer team on Saturday.
"The Montana soccer program, through the Good Ol' Grizzlies Collective and SANIL, has reached a three-year Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deal with the Missoula Surf Soccer Club," the Montana Sports Information Department wrote on its website.
The new deal means that each and every Montana Grizzly Soccer player will receive an equal amount of money each season over the next three years. In return, the Missoula Surf Soccer Club required the Griz to make public appearances and interactions.
Griz Head Coach Chris Citowiski called it a win-win at his weekly press conference on Monday.
It's a win for them [Griz Soccer players] and it's a win for the community - Citowiski
Though the details of how much each player will earn has been kept under wraps, Citowiski says it's significant.
"If you knew the actual figure you'd be blown away."
What's next for NIL?
Personally, I love it. Deals like this not only compensate the players for the hard work they pour onto the field but also can be used as recruiting tools. Think about it. If Coach Citowiski is in a recruiting battle to sign a top recruit and can use the "hey, we can get you a little money for playing college soccer" line, then that sounds pretty good to an 18-year-old deciding where to play.
Coach Citowiski already teased there could be more opportunities coming down the line, and that's only in soccer. Does volleyball, football, basketball, track, tennis, etc. follow suit? Indicators point towards yes but nothing has been rumored as of now.
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