Name Image and Probability – The Oracle
Conversations at Division I central schools spilled over to Hamline and other Division III universities regarding what might be considered the lucrative new element of collegiate sports.
Doug Edert is the sixth man on the men’s basketball team at Saint Peter’s University, a small Division I program in Jersey City, New Jersey. Days before his 15-seeded Peacocks faced the 2-seeded college basketball Kentucky Wildcats in the NCAA March Madness Tournament, he decided to let his mustache grow. His teammates didn’t appreciate the mustache at first, but Edert didn’t seem to mind.
In the Peacocks’ opener, he came off the bench, dropped 20 points while shooting 71% from the field, and helped his Peacocks upset the Wildcats. The following game, Edert seized the opportunity again by scoring 13 points off the bench, helping his team beat Murray State, a team that had only lost two games by then.
Edert’s mustache has been forever solidified in March Madness folklore and he knows it. The best part is that thanks to new NCAA rules regarding image and name likeness, Doug Edert can enjoy his mustache and Saint Peters’ magical run into sixteen.
The image and likeness of the name, commonly referred to as NIL, can be described as the ability of a collegiate athlete to earn money and profit from being an athlete. All past athletes who have been fined or declared ineligible for violating this rule may be upset by this change, but today’s collegiate athletes and those of the future will have to navigate this new era of college sports.
It may seem like this rule will only affect top-tier Division I athletes, but Hamline athletic director Jason Verdugo needs to be sure he’s ahead of the curve when it comes to NIL.
“I think all the sporting directors at Division III level are still trying to figure out if this is going to be a touchpoint for us,” Verdugo said. Nobody knows how this will affect Division III athletes in the years to come, mainly because no one even knows how it will affect Division I athletes.
Some college athletes with strong social media followings have started to get more attention and grow their bank accounts thanks to this rule. Olivia Dunne, a Louisiana State University gymnast with a TikTok following of over 5 million followers has already signed her first NIL contract with a sportswear brand Vuori. This is an extreme example as Dunne is one of the most popular personalities on the app, but it’s not impossible that it will become more common in the future.
Speaking of being active in the NIL field, Ally Thompson, a forward for the Hamline women’s basketball team, said: “I feel like it would be something I would do if it benefited at the athletic department here in Hamline.”
Smaller schools like Hamline aren’t too concerned about NIL at the moment, mostly because the general public prefers to watch the March Madness tournament or the college football playoffs. But that’s not to say athletes wouldn’t take advantage of the opportunity if it presented itself.
“This is an opportunity for me to earn some extra money and spread Hamline’s image and attract other student-athletes,” said Luke Rimington, men’s soccer player and member of the Sports Advisory Board. student-athletes (SAAC). Both Rimington and Thompson know the benefits NIL can bring to small institutions like Hamline.
There won’t be a record deal signed anytime soon, but every student, athlete or not, is always on the hunt for that extra cash. Whether or not Hamline University athletes get paid for their time as an athlete shouldn’t matter.
“They’re missing something, in my opinion,” Verdugo said when discussing student decisions to play collegiate sports at all levels. Student-athletes at smaller colleges have only one thing that motivates them when they choose to play varsity sports. It’s not to sign an NIL deal, to gain a large following on social media, or to be recognized as a popular hero in the month of March. It’s playing the game they love and enjoying every second of it.