UNT System HR brings you UNT World experts with this periodic and always timely installation called "Ask An Expert." So, let's ask...
EXPERT: Jared Mosley, Associate Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, UNT Athletics, has worked at UNT since 2016. He serves on the leadership team for Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker, and assists with daily operational and administrative duties, as well as the coordination of strategic initiatives and provides oversight for facilities and event management, student services, public relations and communications. One more item that both Mosley and Natasha Oakes, Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director for Compliance/Senior Woman Administrator, have on their plates as we begin the 2021-22 athletic year is the new "NIL" policy approved in June by the NCAA that is going to forever change the game for student-athletes. Mosley and Oakes were gracious enough to take a timeout to give us the A-B-Cs of NIL.
What does "NIL" stand for, what does it allow student-athletes to do that they couldn’t do before and why is it so groundbreaking in college athletics?
Name, Image, Likeness. The new state and NCAA legislation now allows student-athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness like any other individual or student. Many student-athletes come into college settings with significant followings through social media platforms or they have established businesses, and now they can pursue opportunities to monetize those fully with permissible state and NCAA legislation. In the past, student-athletes had a few opportunities to do this, but it was extremely limited in scope due to various factors (e.g. rules did not allow any references to their student-athlete status, the business venture or brand ambassador opportunity could not be tied in any way to athletics, etc.) and institutions had to seek relief from the NCAA via a waiver process in order for the student-athlete to engage in the opportunity. Now the student-athlete has far more flexibility.
UNT launched the Paramount Program quickly after the NIL ruling. Did the athletics department anticipate this would happen and what is Paramount’s aim?
We have anticipated this change for some time. With Texas passing legislation that went into effect on July 1, we had to speed up the initial launch of the Paramount Program, but it didn’t impact the goal of the program. We want to build a program that educates Mean Green student-athletes on current NIL legislation, provide programming to assist with personal brand development, as well as provide education and tools to equip them with managing permissible opportunities they may be presented with.
How does this work – can a student-athlete hire an agent or representative to seek out deals or will businesses seek out athletes?
Student-athletes may do either. They do have the option to hire representation to assist with managing NIL opportunities or they can manage that on their own. They are required to disclose proposed agreements with our office of compliance prior to engaging in any NIL activity to ensure it fits state and NCAA established guidelines.
Talk of paying athletes had always mostly centered around football players and top-tier basketball players at the largest universities and top programs. But, is there an opportunity here for athletes at mid-major programs like UNT to make money?
It’s important to distinguish that this is not pay for play. NIL allows student-athletes across all sports to pursue these opportunities, and across the country you are seeing student-athletes outside of football and basketball capitalizing in very significant ways.
Along those lines, how about opportunity for female athletes and athletes in non-revenue (Olympic) sports?
This legislation benefits all student-athletes across all sports. We have some female and Olympic-sport athletes who have been presented opportunities in the NIL space. We anticipate that growing as student-athletes become more educated on building their brands or establishing businesses that allow them to monetize their name, image and likeness.
How does social media play into all of this?
We have seen people of all ages build robust followings across social media platforms that then create significant opportunities for monetization as “influencers.” Prior to this recent legislation, institutions would have to seek a waiver for student-athletes be brand influencers, and if a waiver was granted, they could not make any reference to their student-athlete status or be involved with anything that had an athletics nexus. Essentially, student-athletes wishing to compete at the college level had to decide whether to forego the potential opportunities for earning compensation to keep their eligibility or forego playing in college to be compensated.
Before NIL, the NCAA seemingly had an encyclopedia of rules violations pertaining to payments to student-athletes, everything from a car to a spaghetti dinner. Is anything illegal now?
Again, this is not pay for play. There are still restrictions to prevent a pay-for-play model across college athletics. Further, state legislation requires that a student-athlete receive fair market value when being compensated for NIL activities. This legislation works to ensure contracts/agreements made with student-athletes fit into the category of name, image and likeness and are not performance-based incentives or payments not tied to a legitimate business function. In addition to ensuring student-athletes are being paid for engaging in actual NIL activity, state legislation prohibits student-athletes endorsing certain types of categories (e.g. alcohol, tobacco products, gambling, etc.).
We’ve now seen a high school quarterback – Southlake’s Quinn Ewars – choose to skip his senior season and enroll early at Ohio State with an eye on cashing in. Is this a trend waiting to happen or something only a very small percentage of the nation’s top recruits can entertain?
I don’t feel you will see a significant number of student-athletes take this path. Student-athletes are still required to graduate high school and meet specific NCAA eligibility requirements prior to enrolling at a college institution. The percentage of student-athletes that can do that and who also have significant followings or influence across social media platforms is not the majority.