College athletes have a lot riding on the NCAA’s ongoing name, image and likeness discussion.
AthleticDirectorU and Navigate Research teamed up to find out just how much, conducting a study that projected annual endorsement values to estimate “how much student-athletes can make off their NIL in both group licensing and free-market scenarios.”
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The study included a disclaimer that there’s “no way of knowing exactly how much student-athletes will be able to garner for their NIL, especially in uncertain economic times where the continued threat of COVID will almost certainly have a deflationary effect on brands willingness to spend large amounts of dollars in sponsorship, whether on the professional or amateur levels. That being said, these projections do show the possibility of substantial amounts of money that student-athletes can generate from NIL deals, which means there may be a new and lucrative frontier of revenue opportunities for college athletic programs to explore.”
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, the 2019 Heisman trophy winner and projected top 2020 NFL draft pick, led the study with a projected annual endorsement value of $700,000. Other projections for top-tier quarterbacks from the 2019 season were $450,000 for Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa, $400,000 for Oklahoma’s Jalen Hurts and $390,000 for Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence.
Overall, Burrow easily had the most to gain is there had been legislation allowing him to profit off himself. The runner-up was North Carolina men’s basketball guard Cole Anthony.
Despite being injured for much of a freshman season that saw North Carolina go 14-19, Anthony had a projected annual endorsement value of $476,000. Much of that came through estimated money he could have made by commercializing his Instagram, where he has 597,000 followers. The study found there is a value of about $0.80 per Instagram value.
According to Sporting News’ story on the study, Anthony and Duke freshman Cassius Stanley ($400,000) were the only men’s basketball players projected to make more than Oregon women’s basketball star Sabrina Ionescu ($251,000).
UCLA gymnast and 2016 Olympic gold medalist Madison Kocian had a projected annual endorsement value of $466,000. The study, which projected the UCLA gymnastics team to be worth as much as $1,250,000 annually, estimated that popular athletes like Kocian and Anthony could generate about $4,000 per Instagram post.
The study projected that less popular college athletes could make between $5,000 and $30,000 on their NIL.