By Holden Wilen | Baltimore Business Journal
Most people assumed star football and basketball players would rake in the most money when the NCAA began allowing student athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness.
That hasn’t been the case at the University of Maryland, College Park, so far, according to athletic director Damon Evans. The most successful Terrapins so far have been women who play other sports. Two of the largest deals have been signed by field hockey players. One player did a $12,000 deal, while the other did a $10,000 deal.
Evans discussed Maryland’s efforts related to the new name, image and likeness rules during a Nov. 23 meeting of the Committee on Intercollegiate Athletics and Student-Athlete Health and Welfare. It was the first meeting of the committee, which the University System of Maryland Board of Regents created due to a new state law passed by the General Assembly earlier this year.
The implementation of NIL rules represents what Evans described as a “seismic shift” in the business of college athletics and has forced universities to adapt. Maryland moved quickly by partnering with a firm called Opendorse to launch a program that assists student-athletes with brand development and creating content for social media.
“Those institutions that have the ability to adjust and adapt to what we see as inevitable change will be able to better position themselves for the future,” Evans said.
During his presentation, Evans detailed several statistics about the NIL deals entered into by Maryland student-athletes to date, including:
- The average deal so far has a transaction value of $745, almost double the national average of $391.
- Just 11 percent of the deals for Maryland student-athletes are valued at more than $1,000. Even fewer, 4 percent, are valued at more than $10,000.
- Sixty percent of the deals disclosed by student-athletes have been by those who play so-called “Olympic sports.” The remaining 40 percent have come from football and the men’s and women’s basketball teams, the so-called “revenue-generating sports.”
Maryland athletics spokesperson Jason Yellin said 123 deals have been disclosed by Terrapin student-athletes to date.
Female athletes are making more because they have demonstrated they are better at engaging with people on social media, Evans said. More than half the deals entered into by Maryland student-athletes (54 percent) are directly related to social media activities. About 18 percent are for rights and endorsements, while 8 percent are for merchandise. Less than 10 percent of the deals are for events, appearances and autograph sessions.
“How active student-athletes are on social media is what’s really going to help them,” Evans said. “This is really not solely about the big-name star student-athletes. Some of that money is there for them, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a lot of money there for student-athletes who just know how to engage on social media. Our young men just don’t know how to engage on social media yet for some reason.”
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maryland Athletics