‘We’re probably way behind the times of allowing it to happen’: Local schools navigate NCAA NIL change

Local Sports

TOPEKA (KSNT) – NCAA athletes can now make money while still in school. The organization’s board of directors announced this week it was suspending its rules prohibiting athletes from selling the rights to their names, images, and likeness.

K-State’s Athletic Director Gene Taylor said the change allowing NCAA athletes to make money from their NIL is overdue.

“I mean, you’ve got talented athletes that are musicians and clothes designers and social media influencers,” Taylor said.

He thinks the new change has its pros and cons. He likes that athletes with scholarships and those without can now have a chance to make some extra money while in school. He said the university will work on educating its players on contracts and negotiations so they don’t get taken advantage of.

“We’re really trying to help our athletes,” Taylor said. “We’re not trying to be a roadblock.”

Making a path for himself already is KU basketball’s Mitch Lightfoot, who announced his first brand deal just 24 hours after the new rule went into effect.

K-State wide receiver Shane Porter is another NCAA athlete being impacted by the change. He has almost 1 million followers on the social media platform TikTok and recently had a lipsyncing video go viral. It’s just another example of players with large followings and the potential to make money from it.

But Taylor said their players will not be able to monetize posts like the viral one because the players are in uniform. It’s a protection they’re putting in place program-wide.

“We’re trying to protect team activities, practices, competition clearly, road trips, maybe when they’re out doing community service,” Taylor said. “That’s not the time to work on their name, image, and likeness.”

Emporia State’s Athletic Director Kent Weiser said one other concern with the new change is sponsors shifting money from university programs to athletes. He said they’ll navigate those possibilities as they come.

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