An Analysis on College Athlete NIL Deals


Wyatt Langway '25, Writer

NIL is short for Name, Image, and Likeness, and refers to the way that college athletes can now get paid. Previously, college athletes were not able to make any money off of their name and struggled financially without ways to send money to their families. A popular case of pre-NIL deal controversy involves the Youtuber ‘Deestroying’. Donald De la Haye aka Deestroying was a kicker for the UCF football team from 1015-2016. Donald attracted a large Youtube following throughout his college career documenting days in his life, kicking challenges and other football challenges against other athletes and popular YouTubers. The NCAA forced him to make the decision to demonetize his YouTube channel to keep his status as a student-athlete or walk away from college football entirely. He chose his YouTube channel and quit the football team. Donald has now amassed almost 5 million followers and has become very successful in his career. Although it is unfortunate that he was not allowed to continue to play football and make money off his YouTube channel, he paved the way for many future athletes to make money off of YouTube channels, merchandise, sponsorships, and many other ways. 

Now that the NCAA has approved NIL deals it has had a very positive impact on athletes and college sports in general. For one, it encourages many athletes to stay in school longer and achieve a degree. Most athletes who make it to the ‘pros’ have short-lived careers lasting around 4-6 years. Even if they are very set on making it to the pros as quickly as possible they may be encouraged to earn their degree while making money setting them up for a good job after their athletic careers are done. On top of that, it will help many athletes who are not on scholarships to pay for their tuition. It can also encourage athletes to have a more substantial presence on social media and promote their sponsorships and personal brands on their platforms. Caleb Hammet aka “Drip King”  is a lacrosse player at Umass Amherst who has built a brand around his alias “Drip King”. Caleb has blown up on social media attracting a large following by posting different eye-black designs, showing his highlights, and inspiring people with his challenging journey. He has used his following to sell clothes with Drip King designs as well as sponsorships. Overall, NIL deals have had a huge positive impact on athletes by preparing them for the future, helping them pay tuition, and helping athletes build their own brands.