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UNC Launches Nation's First Group Licensing Program

Paul Steinbach

The University of North Carolina launched a group licensing program Tuesday, becoming the first school in the nation to do so as the new name, image and likeness era dawns.

As reported by The Athletic, the Tar Heels have partnered with The Brandr Group to allow all current athletes to profit from NIL in conjunction with UNC's official trademarks and logos — something that other schools have been reluctant to do. Participation is voluntary and does not limit the athlete's individual NIL rights and their ability to negotiate opportunities outside of the program.

"This is an outstanding opportunity because it will allow our student-athletes to benefit, together, with our trademarks and logos — and to have more choices and chances to collectively benefit from their NIL," said UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham. "I have long supported the group licensing concept because it can positively impact so many student-athletes."

Tar Heel athletes will have the chance to be marketed in groups of three or more within their sport or six or more sports in cobranded licensing and marketing programs with UNC's intellectual property. TBG will create licensing opportunities on behalf of the athletes in apparel and non-apparel categories and other cobranded sponsorships, The Athletic reported.

According to The Athletic's UNC beat writer Brendan Marks, this is actually UNC's second group-licensing agreement, but the first that works for current athletes. The previous one enabled fans to buy jerseys of past Tar Heel stars, such as Tar Heel soccer and women's national team legend Mia Hamm.

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