Big chances are coming within the NCAA.
With athletes expected to be able to profit off their name, image and likeness as soon as this coming athletic year, the term student-athlete will never be the same. But while some universities are fighting against this massive change, the University of utah is embracing it openly.
Announced late last week, Utah is officially launching the 'Elevate U' program, with the David Eccles School of Business and Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute. It's a program that will be giving student-athletes the proper tools and education that will allow them to maximize their opportunity to greatly profit from their name, image and likeness.
“We’re very excited about what we have developed for our student-athletes with the Elevate U program,” Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan said. “For several months we have focused intently on the creation of this program, led by Deputy AD & Chief Operating Officer Charmelle Green, and we are very grateful for our partnership with the David Eccles School of Business and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute to provide our student-athletes with expertise in building and managing their brand and pursuing business opportunities.”
This is a huge shift in thinking when it comes to what student-athletes were considered 10 and five years ago. Allowing athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness is a massive step forward in a new progressive way of thinking. Athletes are individuals not to be owned by their respective colleges, but rather employees who help generate money for them.
For 'super' senior Sydney Soloski, the "floor queen" of Utah's women's gymnastics team, this change in policy is something that she should benefit greatly from.
Extremely active on social media websites such as Instagram (14.2k followers) and Tik Tok (65.7k followers), Soloski invites people into her life so they can see what life of a college athlete is truly like. She also hosts a YouTube channel with 1.6k subscribers.
Utah's take on embracing this new change is one that's meant to benefit the athletes and make the school more marketable when it comes to recruiting as well. The program will allow athletes the ability to build their own brand, something that gymnastics head coach Tom Farden is valuable moving forward.
"To build a brand for yourself and jumpstart your future is extremely valuable, and capitalizing off your name, image and likeness will provide countless opportunities for our Utah gymnasts to do just that," Farden said in a statement. "We are ecstatic for our student-athletes to be presented with even more opportunities to succeed during and after their collegiate careers."
Farden wasn't the only coach who had a statement regarding the new program. Read below to find out what the coaches think of the potential rule change.
Beth Launiere, Volleyball
“The Elevate U program is another example of the great leadership by our athletics department and the University of Utah. The U is always innovative in ways to enhance the experience of the student-athletes and our partnership with the David Eccles School of Business and the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute will only enrich this program. Our student-athletes are worth the investment, and Elevate U will be a great asset to our incredible student-athletes’ growth as entrepreneurs.”
Kyle Whittingham, Football
“The University of Utah and the Salt Lake City area is a perfect environment for our athletes to thrive in promoting their brand through name, image and likeness. With the Elevate U program, our athletes will receive the tools needed to succeed, and we’re excited for the opportunities that our athletes will have to elevate their brand and their game to prepare them for their future.”
Craig Smith, Men’s Basketball
“This is a special time in college athletics. I’m excited that our student-athletes will have the opportunity to monetize on their name image, and likeness as we move forward. Our industry is continually evolving and will always seek to enhance the overall experience of student-athletes. The University of Utah and our athletic department are on the cutting edge in all that we do. Elevate U is another example of being at the forefront of positive change. Elevate U provides our student-athletes the tools of leadership to help them grow and enhance their lives.”
Lynne Roberts, Women’s Basketball
“Elevate U is a program that makes competing at the University of Utah a personal brand advantage for our student-athletes. The access and opportunities provided to our athletes by the University of Utah and Salt Lake City will be the best in the country. There is not a better place to be right now than at the U. Elevate U will be the engine that helps drive our talented student-athletes to where they want to go.”