Wednesday morning, the NCAA released its guidelines to all allow student-athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL). The Board of Governors supported the guiding principles originally outlined by the board in October.
Shortly after, West Virginia head coach Neal Brown offered his thoughts on the new rules during a scheduled media availability via Zoom.
“This is something we have been preparing for within our program for probably over the last six months,” said Brown. “We’ve got a really good plan - an educational plan with how we’re going to deal with it within our program. We’ve got a partnership we’re going to announce here in the next week or so that we’re excited about.”
To be clear, the partnership is about educating the players on self-branding, not player endorsements.
“I could feel the momentum growing in conversations with (West Virginia Athletic Director) Shane (Lyons) and just people in the profession so you could feel the momentum growing," continued Brown. "So, what we did is try to get in front of that and we partnered with an individual that we’ll announce here pretty soon and it’s about education and kind of educating our players and how to take advantage of that. How to create a brand and what’s a brand looks like, those types of things.”
“As far as taking advantage of it in recruiting, I don’t really know. I’m not as educated as I need to be right now. I was kind of waiting for these recommendations to come down,” later added Brown.
Although the state of West Virginia is considerably smaller in population to the majority of the states around the country, the Mountain State is in a unique situation.
“I do think there's some potential benefits here in West Virginia because we don’t have any professional sports competition and we’re the only Power Five team. I do think there is some things we can use. I do think there are some things that are marketable – our players are marketable. Our brand is strong. I did notice the branding of the school is going to be not allowed in that, which I do understand. I don’t think it’s going to be a windfall for everybody on our roster or everyone on the basketball team, I don’t see that happening.”
Of course, these guidelines are not official, but like most of us, Brown has more questions than answers.
“You don’t know what the parameters are and when you get the parameters, how do you monitor that? Who’s in charge of monitoring? Is that going to be the head coach’s responsibility? How am I going to monitor it if they have an agent?”
“I understand why we went down this path, I do get it. Again, I think it can be beneficial to some extent. I just don’t know how you manage it,” added Brown.
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