Eagles Capitalizing Early on NCAA Rule Change

What do the brands Gopuff, Barstool Sports, and YOKE Gaming have in common? Each has partnered with at least one Boston College athlete as they move to take advantage of the new rules allowing college athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL) that were implemented earlier this week. 

After dragging their feet on NIL issues for years, the NCAA was finally forced to change its policies after the Supreme Court ruled that the NCAA could not stop its athletes from receiving modest payments. 

BC Athletics announced the creation of the SOAR program on June 29th The project will aim to give Eagle athletes the tools and knowledge to build their personal brands. 

Some standout Eagles took advantage of the landscape change from the onset, as Phil Jurkovec posted on his instagram story early on Wednesday morning that he would be working with YOKE Gaming. The platform allows fans to play video games with their favorite athletes. 

Wide receiver Jaelen Gill followed his teammate a day later, although Gill later deleted the Instagram post. 

On Friday, Taylor Soule became one of a swiftly growing number of athletes working with Barstool, as company founder Dave Portnoy announced Soule’s involvement with an Instagram story. 

Portnoy created the program on Friday, and the page shows that hundreds of athletes have already signed up to be a part of it. In his video to announce the kickoff of the page, Portnoy said that any Division I athlete could join and that they would receive free merchandise for doing so. 

Speculation abounded in the years of debate that led up to the NIL rule change about the potential marketability of college athletes and the size of the deals they would sign. The early evidence suggests quite a tempered outcome, as athletes partner with small companies en masse and hardly receive the level of brand attention that top professional athletes can harness. 

One of the more notable deals so far is the partnership between Auburn quarterback Bo Nix and Milo’s, a leading sweet tea producer. Every scholarship athlete at Miami has been offered up to $500 per month by an MMA training center in Miami in exchange for promotion. 

It remains to be seen whether the Eagles, who play in a much less college sports–obsessed market than Nix and other Southern and Midwestern college stars, will be able to similarly capitalize on the new NIL rules. 

Featured Image by Irkam Ali / Heights Editor

July 6, 2021

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