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Report Shows Just How Much Alabama as a State is Lagging in NIL

Annual report by Opendorse projects $1.15 billion to be spent next year, with the South lagging behind most other parts of the country.

Alabama No. 1? 

Not even close. At least not as a state when it comes to Name, Image and Likeness.

Opendorse, which helps college student-athletes market themselves and tracks Name, Image and Likeness, released a report Friday on the one-year anniversary of NIL legislation going into effect in many states, and projected that $1.15 billion will be spent over the next year. 

The report indicated that on the top campuses 76 percent of student-athletes had received an NIL deal of some sort, with 74 percent having landed at least one deal from a brand, 15 percent from a donor, and four percent from a fan. 

The most prevalent deals were licensing rights (36.73 percent), followed by posting content on social media (34.19 percent), and in exchange for autographs.

Roughly half of the compensation (49.9 percent) is slated for football players, but otherwise female athletes are topping the men (52.8 percent to 47.2 percent). 

However, the Opendorse report  also showed just how far behind Alabama was as a state in NIL compared to the rest of the nation. 

By conference, the Big Ten tops the list, with the SEC fifth in compensation, and fourth in total activities. 

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As a region, the east south central, which includes Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi Tennessee and West Virginia, is expected to top just two others next year (Mountain and West North Central). 

By state, Florida and Texas, not surprisingly, should lead the way, ahead of California, Ohio and North Carolina. 

Alabama, though, is No. 12. 

Alabama coach Nick Saban turned heads last month during a promotion for the upcoming World Games, when he called out three schools, including Texas A&M, for their recruiting practices. His statement that the Aggies “bought every player on their team,” through NIL deals resulted in immediate backlash from the school, including asking the SEC to penalize and suspend him. 

Saban subsequently apologized for singling out specific schools (although an Aggies staffer was recently caught on video apparently doing exactly that). 

However, that during that same interview session, Saban also made it clear that Alabama supporters needed to step things up in regards to NIL.

“I told our players when this whole thing started to get agents, get representation, so you create opportunities for yourself,” Saban said at the time. “Our players last year created $3 million worth of opportunities for themselves in doing it the right way. I have no problem with that and nobody had a problem on our team with that because the guys that got the money earned it. There were only 25 guys on our team that had opportunity to earn money.”

In February, Alabama became the first state to repeal its NIL law, initially designed to heavily prosecute anyone who violated NCAA rules will illegal compensation. It put the schools at a disadvantage in recruiting.