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SWAC Leading Several FBS, FCS Conferences in NIL Contracts and Activities

The SWAC student-athlete contracts are eclipsing larger FBS and FCS athletic conferences.

The NCAA student-athlete has become liberated and able to "hold the bag" in terms of NIL contracts.   What is a NIL contract?   NIL refers to "name, image, and likeness."  According to ESPN's Dan Murphy, a student-athlete will be allowed "with varying degrees of new protections and opportunities to make money by selling their name, image, and likeness (NIL) rights."  

In the past, an institution and NCAA capitalized on using student-athlete's popularity to gain endorsements without paying the athlete.  Today, a college player can accept a contract from a sponsor and protect their name and image.


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SWAC student-athletes are capitalizing on NIL contracts.   Jackson State's Shedeur Sanders, son of head coach Deion Sanders, officially signed a lucrative NIL deal with Beats by Dre.   Last week, I interviewed UAPB's massive offensive lineman Mark Evans II regarding his new NIL with Denny's.   Evans was one of four offensive linemen and the only HBCU player in the country selected for Denny's "All-Pancaker Team." 

FAMU, Alabama A&M's Glass, Zabian Moore, and Gary Quarles have inked NIL contracts.

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Lincoln, Nebraska company Opendorse, assists collegiate and professional athletes by "providing technology to the athlete endorsement industry."  The firm has partnered with major athletic organizations and unions - NFLPA, WNBPA, NHL, PGA, LPGA, Minnesota Vikings, LSU, Nebraska, and Clemson.

Through Aug. 31, the rankings of NIL compensation per athletic conference were released by Opendorse.  Surprisingly, the SWAC is ranked No. 11 in the conferences' total compensation of NIL contracts signed by student-athletes.  Uniquely, the SWAC's student-athletes compensations demonstrate the financial power HBCUs have for potential sponsors.  SWAC deals were more lucrative than prominent and larger FBS and FCS conferences like the Sun Belt, Ivy League, WAC, and MAAC.  

Top 12 Conferences for NIL Compensation

Opendorse

RankConference

1

BIG 10

2

ACC

3

SEC

4

BIG 12

5

PAC-12

6

MOUNTAIN WEST

7

AAC

8

BIG EAST

9

MAIAA

10

C-USA

11

SWAC

12

A-10

At the moment, NIL deals have not caused the controversies college football pundits and analysts had prophesized. Opendorse shared that college football has remained No. 1 in total compensation (60.1%), and the number of activities (37.9%) for NILs extended to student-athletes. Posting content, licensing rights, creating content, and appearances are some of the top activities within NIL deals.