With the NCAA finally enacting its interim name, image and likeness policy for all student athletes today, July 1, UCF Knights student-athletes can now make money off their identity and maintain their eligibility. They stand in a position as well if not better than their compatriots at other sports due to UCF’s location, size, and growth potential.
Several of them are already prepared for it.
UCF Has Been Ahead of the Game
Earlier Wednesday, Justin Buzzi spoke with UCF’s football players about the upcoming changes. While we know no details of the speech, based on Buzzi’s experience as a kayaking entrepreneur and how social media enabled him to grow his local business into a franchise.
UCF has always been ahead of this game. It started with the LAUNCH Initiative, which touted UCF as a leader in the NIL field in enabling current and future student-athletes to market themselves and their brands:
At UCF, your brand is GO for— UCF Knights (@UCFKnights) June 18, 2021
Now all that work is ready to come to fruition.
The Kids Are Alright
The student-athletes have been prepared for this eventuality for at least some time.
Dillon Gabriel has had his personal brand ready for some time now:
Others, like Jaylon Griffin, already have product prepared:
First Drop Of Bet On Yourself Merch @ 12 Midnight !!— JG Apparel (@TheJGApparel) July 1, 2021
Link in bio !! pic.twitter.com/UzCR8Lra1y
Others are anxiously awaiting their opportunities:
My Dms are open! pic.twitter.com/L0ntfDC0Im— BigKat Bryant (@BigKat) July 1, 2021
I am excited for this opportunity! Dm me if interested. pic.twitter.com/KQovIF6E9u— Titus Mokiao-Atimalala (@TITUS_ATIMALALA) July 1, 2021
UCF Athletics Cannot Itself Promote Its Athletes’ Products
Quick reminder for those in the back:
With NIL tomorrow, our @UCF_Football staff is NOT allowed to promote players’ businesses, products, or brands. However, I’m excited for the guys & look forward to seeing innovate ways they engage @citybeautiful and @UCF communities through social media, endorsements,camps & more! pic.twitter.com/MPIG3unnMQ— Sean Tuohy Jr. (@SJTuohy) July 1, 2021
The Orlando Market Comes Into Play Once Again
Used to be we talked about Orlando’s top-20 media market status as a boost for a potential conference move. Then cord-cutting killed that.
Well, now it’s back, but for a different reason.
It sure helps to be a 60,000-plus student institution in a city of more than two million.
Now, we’re still in the Wild West phase of this and will be for the foreseeable future. But it’s happening and happening fast. Let’s sit back and watch.