Greg Bell of the Aztecs, others taking advantage of the opportunities of name, image and likeness

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San Diego state running back Greg Bell jumped into the brave and bankable new world of name, image and likeness opportunities by planting a digital court sign.,

I am here. Let’s talk.

As the schedule braced for July, the first chance for varsity athletes to make money from sponsors, appearances and social media accounts, the former Nebraska player, Bonita Vista High School graduate, has said he was open for business.

“On July 1, the NCAA ruled it legal to take advantage of NIL (Name, Image and Likeness),” Bell, a senior, wrote on Twitter. “I will now be able to work with companies, stand out, advertise, accept incentives, do promotions on social networks, etc. If anyone or a business is interested, let me know! “

Bell said that “six or seven” potential business suitors contacted within the first 24 hours. Two have publicly declared their interest, responding to his post. The first came from a social media marketing agency.

The other, a San Diego-based company called Meetlete, is poised to offer a service where sports figures make live video calls with fans. Bell joined others at around 100, with a small portion of the proceeds going to a personality choice charity.

Bell chose the Foundation for Single Parents in Need.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” said company founder Rob Connolly, 37, of La Mesa. “I got the idea in January when I saw the NIL stuff happening. Fans want to meet athletes and athletes want to meet their fans in a safe, secure and convenient way. “

The thriving company, which counts former MLB pitcher Mark Grant among its investors, has recruited talent beyond college, including TV broadcaster Joe Buck, former baseball manager Bruce Bochy, linebacker of the Cowboys Jaylon Smith, Ravens All-Pro offensive lineman Ronnie Stanley and Suite.

Connolly foresees a greater potential advantage for varsity athletics.

“There are so many who try to get pro before they are developed enough because they have to support a family at home,” he said. “We hear about the successes, but we don’t hear about the players who left early and didn’t succeed.

“If they could make the money, I think it could increase graduation rates.”

On Saturday, Connolly estimated he had at least 200 calls or messages to return from those on college campuses interested in the business.

Bell arrived early. Like any college athlete, he’s hungry. Not just competitively, but also literally. Everyone remembers the vacuuming appetite that raged at this age, as lint fell out of the wallet.

So what about the food?

“Most definitely,” Bell said with a laugh. “That would be nice. Any taco store, I’m all ears.

Many believed that releasing the entrepreneurial beast from campus would meet the Oklahoma quarterback or the playmaker at Duke. The pull of blue blood, television contracts, and built-in outreach would rule the new dawn.

The reality turned out to be complex and less predictable.

Fresno State basketball twins Hanna and Haley Caviinder leveraged their 3.3 million TikTok subscribers for a Boost Mobile deal, launched with the glamorous pair in Times Square. The Fresno Bee reported that the potential earnings of 20-year-olds could easily double that of their coach, athletic director and college president.

LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne has amassed over 5 million followers on TikTok and Instagram alone. Newsweek predicted she could become the first $ 1 million varsity athlete of the NIL era.

“It just reinforces that it doesn’t necessarily have to be just the top athletic athletes,” said UC San Diego athletic director Earl Edwards.

A University of Miami quarterback has signed a deal with a trash haulage and moving company. A University of Iowa basketball goalie made an appearance at a fireworks company ahead of the holiday weekend. A defensive end of Jackson State started pushing a hair care products business.

In Nebraska, Runza Restaurants – the regional sandwich of the same name made with ground onions, spices and cabbage – offered a package to the state’s top 100 college athletes to promote the channel’s app on the networks. social.

Darren Rovell, a sports journalist with 2 million Twitter followers, ranked the 20 college athletes most likely to get endorsement or promotional gold. Ohio State wide receiver Chris Olave from Mission Hills High in San Marcos landed at No.7.

Bell, the Aztecs running back, estimated that about half of his team are actively exploring opportunities.

“Any deal is a blessing because we haven’t been able to get it before,” Bell said, before moving on to caution. “I don’t think NIL should distract from the performance on the pitch. For me, the goal is to win and reach the NFL.

“The NIL is a big deal, but you can’t let that overshadow it.”

Edwards said the Big West Conference is close to making a deal with a third-party partner to become a one-stop-shop for NIL needs.

The conversation got more personal for Bill McGillis, AD at USD. His son, Will, is a captain and second baseman for the Southern Miss baseball team.

“At dinner (recently) I mentioned that the baseball program is very successful and the city knows the players, so you probably have an opportunity at your favorite restaurant,” McGillis said. “I wasn’t completely kidding, but everyone kind of laughed. Then we all realized it was kind of true.

“Some kids have that gene or that entrepreneurial spirit in them. They are wired this way. Good for them. “

Although McGillis has said he is not aware of any Toreros athlete close to making deals, he expects it to happen.

“How does this affect the recruiting landscape is the big unknown,” McGillis said. “Everyone will be watching this to see what it looks like. What are the unintended consequences? Are concerns in college offices about the competitive playing field becoming an issue or not?

“We’ll see.”

And hear. And click.


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