Champaign — The state is two weeks after the name, image, and portrait bill that influences college athletics. In addition, more than 500 Irini have asked many questions about how to navigate these unknown waters.
Call him NIL quarterbacks, point guards, head coaches, whatever you like. UI NIL Coordinator Kam Cox is here to find the answer.
Cox has only been in Champaign for about a month, but has helped many student athletes catch up mentally.
The once-banned college athlete trade and approval is not only permitted but encouraged in Illinois.
“I reach out to the footballer and say,’Can you support this clothing brand and get a basically free exchange?” And I said, “Yes, it’s a classic endorsement. It’s like a deal. “
“To her, it seems kind of incredible because it’s so new.”
So how is Cox in this position anyway? Just graduated from Vanderbilt Law School, Cox worked as a securities lawyer for Simpson Thatcher & Bartlett and Covington & Burling for four years.
He represented banks during transactions worth hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars.
He was an intern at Rutgers Athletics and was involved in the Auburn University and Vandy faculties.
According to Cox, the legal background helps him “defend.” He knows how to stay within the rules set by the state and the NCAA.
However, at the blessing of athlete director Josh Whitman, Cox and Irinian athletes have also taken an “aggressive” approach to student athletes, allowing the program to “stand in a strong position” in the market. We are trying to promote open exploration. In the NIL situation, he said.
He spends a lot of time keeping up with new NIL deals nationwide, especially for non-income sports.
“It’s not uncommon for me to get the same broad ideas, maybe swimmers reach out and say,’Hey Cam, is it NIL for me?’” He said. “Most of the story is dominated by some sport, so I say:’Yes, it’s for you. I know there are other swimmers who have done this all over the country. 』
He also creates a weekly NIL Roundup for the athletics community, featuring new deals he finds. From what Cox saw, female gymnastics, swimmers and wrestlers all “kill it”, supporting its dominant story.
He has responded to about 10 student inquiries a week so far, and more inquiries from companies that are trying to support athletes.
That is where the limits of his work come into play. On behalf of the university, he cannot “play a matchmaker” or facilitate a deal between a company and an athlete.
He is also unable to mediate or solicit support from businesses or promote any particular student athlete brand. He cannot confirm and evaluate contracts on behalf of students.
“This program is based on respect for the independence of students and athletes. Unless it conflicts with state law, we can’t say much about it if you want to apply on your terms,” Cox said. “I’m not in a position to say,’Hey, this is a good deal, this isn’t a great deal.’ They are adults and have the ability to earn rewards and hire representatives.”
According to Cox, UI’s Inter-University Athletics Division has created an official handbook on navigating the NIL world, including FAQs and sample approvals. It will be released in the coming weeks.
The only time the university has to intervene is around the use of that mark. References to teams such as Block Is, Fighting Illini, Orange Krush, Spike Squad — these are all university property.
It’s not that companies haven’t yet addressed these restrictions.
“The examples of State Farm commercials Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers look like Rogers sometimes wearing a green shirt, and Mahomes wearing a red shirt. But I don’t see any mention of Chiefs or Packers, “Cox said.
Companies must reach an agreement with the university to approve the use of these trademarks.
“We don’t necessarily want our brand to be used in ways we don’t approve. We want the ability to approve it. We want to see it first.” Said Cox.
However, there are some questions that can take some time to understand.
One of the most frustrating things is the topic of international student athletes. As these athletes come to the United States on student visas, there are severe barriers to finding a job or job in the state.
“The most difficult conversation I have to have with my kids is where I like.” I don’t know, and I can’t know “, and I know it has to be frustrating for them. .. “Wait, do you mean you can’t say anything to me?” Cox said. “And again, I see many of my teammates actually using something like this.”
According to Cox, the issue intersects with immigration and employment laws, and the Department of Homeland Security has essentially stopped saying, “Believe it or not, it includes other things.” , Progress may be slow.
“The Department of Homeland Security is having a tough time because it doesn’t want to give guidance to student athletes that is different from other students,” he said. “That doesn’t seem to be really right. At the same time, we have all the people in this class in different places and it has some kind of opportunity.”
Another problem area: Students with needs-based financial scholarships.
“Depending on your own financial assistance arrangement, there may be thresholds for qualifying for financial assistance based on your needs, and in certain situations and you are your FAFSA (for federal student assistance). Depending on what you put in the free application), you may actually endanger your finances. If you earn a certain amount of money with NIL, it’s part of your aid or financial aid, “cox said. I will.
Aid is also based on the previous year’s income. This means that last year’s series of deals could sneak up on this year’s scholarships.
Perhaps the most difficult issue facing the NIL debate, especially in Illinois, is the sale of jerseys. Governor JB Pritzker’s bill, signed in early July, made it clear that the jersey number was part of the student’s portrait.
Taking into account all the stakeholders and stakeholders in the equation, it is a difficult problem to solve.
“We are overcoming it in a way that encourages and rewards student athletes,” Cox said. “But there are some practical limitations associated with it, and we still understand.”
According to state bill SB2338, “similarity” is “a physical, digital, rendering, or other depiction or representation of a student athlete, including a unified number or signature of the student athlete, which specializes the student athlete. Means “what is reasonably identified”. .. “
Cox has never seen that provision in other state NIL bills he read.
“Understanding how to sell jerseys in a way that promotes fair and student athletes is one of the most important issues that every university that sells jerseys should address or address, but it is the most complex. It’s one of the problems, “cox said.
There is much to be solved about the wild wildness west of NIL. However, UI staff are keen to announce a full-fledged athlete platform once the dust has settled down.
In the meantime, according to Cox, if you want to know how everything works, contact the athlete.
“If your daughter loves tennis and loves one of our tennis girls, get in touch with her on her birthday and have one of them call,” he said. I got it. “If you want to improve your basketball game, contact one of the basketball girls and ask them to tell you how to dribble a little.”
Opendorse, the app platform used by Irini athletes, is “infinitely close to a direct matchmaker” and has served more than 40,000 professional athletes in eight years.
And for those who think this NIL business is just one big pastime?
“I don’t think it will ruin college athletics. There are other things that could ruin college athletics prior to this,” Cox said. “But we welcome the exchange of ideas. No one is arguably right about this.”