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Associate professor's study on name, image and likeness (NIL) cited by ESPN

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The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) currently restricts college athletes from profiting off their name, image and likeness (NIL). However, these restrictions may be changing as soon as this summer as dozens of states consider passing legislation to benefit athlete-influencers.

Highlighted in the ESPN article, a new study from Temple University's School of Sport, Tourism and Hospitality Management and the University of Georgia Mary Frances Early College of Education found the potential for NIL revenue, on average, was greater for female college athletes than males, and athletes outside the revenue sports of football and men's basketball could still cultivate valuable brands.

"College athletes are really engaging a specific and targeted audience from a demographic perspective," said Thilo Kunkel, co-author of the study and associate professor at Temple University. "They're becoming really effective endorsers—and maybe it's not the next national shampoo commercial, but it's companies more focused on getting their brand out there and connecting with an audience."

The study—which was co-authored by Thomas Baker, an associate professor in the College of Education's department of kinesiology—also showed that athletes outside the revenue sports of football and men's basketball could still earn about $5,000 per year with just 10,000 followers on various social media platforms. Engagement is critical, so the value would depend more on content and frequency of new posts than actual on-field accomplishments.

NCAA officials, athletic directors and coaches have all offered varying arguments against NIL reform, including concerns about the potential for internal strife between athletes earning significant money and those who don't, schools subverting the intent of the rules to gain an advantage in recruiting, and individual NIL revenue coming at the expense of donations that might have gone to the school itself.

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