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U. of Texas Officials Build Directory of Athletes for NIL Tie-Ins

Paul Steinbach

University of Texas officials have built a directory to connect boosters and student-athletes with the hope of facilitating name, image and likeness sponsorship deals, per documents obtained by Axios and reported by Yahoo!News.

According to the Texas athletics website, the LEVERAGE Lineup is "a hub for companies and individual requestors to find and contact Texas student-athletes who may be interested in a name, image, or likeness partnership. If a company or individual requestor and student-athlete decide to enter into a written agreement for a particular activity, the agreement should be sent to NIL@athletics.utexas.edu for Texas Athletics to confirm the agreement does not present any conflicts with any existing institutional agreements and meets all applicable NCAA rules and state NIL laws."

The page then provides a list of links to each of 15 sports teams' respective roster — more than 200 student-athletes total.

A state law effective July 1 allows student-athletes at Texas universities to earn money for use of their name, image and likeness. Many Longhorn athletes boast thousands of social media followings, making them natural marketing partners for business looking to affiliate with the UT brand, which regularly generates more than $200 million in revenue annually, Yahoo!News reported.

"In this new era of collegiate athletics with Name, Image and Likeness opportunities for our student-athletes, many of you have asked about ways to partner with them on NIL deals," athletic director Chris Del Conte wrote Longhorn Foundation donors in August. "We're excited about these amazing new opportunities for our student-athletes and look forward to continuing to watch them build their personal brands while representing the University of Texas at the highest level."

Del Conte wrote to donors that the LEVERAGE Lineup, which he called "a hub for finding and contacting Texas student-athletes who may be interested in a partnership with you or your brand," had been vetted by university lawyers. Under state rules, UT cannot be involved in actually providing compensation or arranging for a student-athlete to receive compensation for NIL activities.

UT has also set up educational sessions on personal brand development, business formation and entrepreneurship, career opportunity management and financial literacy, according to Yahoo!News.

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