NIL now has a summit.
For the first time in college sports history, athletes this year began earning compensation from their name, image and likeness. This June, college sports will feature its first NIL summit, geared to educate and award athletes in this new era.
The NIL Summit, hosted by Student Athlete NIL (SANIL) and sponsored by NIL platform INFLCR, is scheduled for June 13–15 at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta and will offer a platform for athletes to learn about maximizing their NIL opportunities and network with those within the industry. From NIL workshops to panel discussions, athletes, major brand representatives and even school administrators will converge on Atlanta in an effort to explore an issue that has burst onto the college sports landscape.
“The long-term goal is to have thousands of athletes come to Atlanta every year for this,” says Jason Belzer, one of the founders of SANIL, an agency dedicated to assisting athletes, brands and schools in navigating NIL. “We want this to be their event and have them help shape the future of college athletes.”
Belzer expects more than 400 athletes to attend the event, which will kick off with an awards ceremony on opening night. NIL Awards Night will honor those athletes and schools who have achieved the most in the first year of NIL’s existence, such as the best male and best female athlete of the year, best social media campaign and the school with the best institutional NIL program. Players are expected to vote on the 14 awards.
“It’s going to be like the ESPYS of NIL college sports,” Belzer says.
The more than 1,000 NCAA and NAIA schools select representatives among their athlete populations. Any school can nominate up to 10 athletes (one per sport). Schools working with the NIL platform INFLCR will have the first athlete’s entree fee waived. The entry fee is $500 per athlete and fees can be paid from NIL collectives, brands, schools or athletes’ families.
Officials will also select a cohort of athletes from historically Black colleges to attend with expenses fully paid, Belzer says.
“We are hoping to do it every year where athletes return to discuss how their NIL deals helped them,” says Jim Cavale, the founder and CEO of INFLCR, the title sponsor of the event. “Athletes want to learn from the top performers in the first year of NIL and to learn from brands and how they choose and look at athletes and agencies.”
The event will feature a separate track for school administrators to learn best practices, but the summit is specifically geared around the NIL moneymakers—the athletes. Officials expect at least two dozen representatives from some of the biggest brands in NIL as well as those from the agent world. That includes Wasserman, one of the biggest talent agencies in the world and the exclusive agency sponsor of the summit.
“Student athletes will learn about how you negotiate a partnership, how you deliver ROI [return on investment] and how you invest and find the right business partners,” Belzer says.
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