The Impact of Names Image and Likeness on Collegiate Athletic Fundraising through the Lens of LSU Athletics

Name, image and likeness (NIL) are three elements that make up a legal concept known as right of publicity and has to do with the ability of college athletes to earn money from sponsorship, to be paid for social media posts and other advertising dollars. The introduction of NIL policies has created severe disruption within athletic departments and their fundraising organizations. Pete Lasher, a GG+A Senior Vice President, talked with Matt Borman, the CEO of Tiger Athletic Foundation at LSU and Taylor Jacobs, Director of NIL Initiatives and Education of the LSU Athletic Program to understand the impact of NIL on collegiate athletic Fundraising.

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Obviously the SA’s can benefit from NIL opportunities, are there ways that coaches can also benefit?

In the conversations I have had with our coaches, it seems that they all believe that this is a great opportunity for their student-athletes.  I truly believe they benefit because their student-athletes benefit.  But when it comes to their own deals, I believe that would depend on their contracts.  At LSU we have allowed coaches to work with third parties as their own “sponsorship” type deal but just have to ensure that any agreement meets the terms of their contract/does not conflict with an existing LSU partnership.

Are the people who help you open doors for potential major donors graduates of LSU? If yes or no, what is the proportion of Alumni involved in your committee?

From the NIL perspective, I do see a ton of alumni getting involved in NIL.  The individuals I have engaged with, it does seem to be either businesses in Baton Rouge (rather than nationally) or supporters of LSU who want to help the athletes.

Before July 1, 2021 – NCAA and Universities asked the US Government to help provide direction federal on this issue and others regarding NCAA authority role and responsibility.  With the States taking the lead year 1, where is this issue on a Federal level?  Second, is the NCAA going to pick a company to monitor this across the board and if so when?  Third, you all have shared how well LSU has educated, pivoted and now communicating with the 3rd party collective.  What is you biggest fear for Fundraising in 5 years

It is my understanding that a federal level of involvement has taken the back seat due to other pressing issues at the federal level.  The last update we received was that it would be at least a year before something happened on the federal level.  As far as one company monitoring this across the board per NCAA direction, I am not sure that will happen at this point.  We all thought that was going to come in the beginning and then they never designated anyone.  Now it seems that schools have all entered in to their own contracts so I am not sure how it would work for an across the board mandate.

As far as the fear for fundraising, I still believe that it is extremely valuable to work with our donors in such a way that they are able to support our NIL education efforts. In the many conversations I have had, the interest of how the NIL department is educating and providing opportunity to the student-athletes is high.  I continue to remind them that without their support, it is difficult for us to provide the best resources for our athletes.  In these cases, I believe they see value in continuing to work with Matt and his staff in support NIL education efforts, rather than just paying the athletes.

What kind of financial literacy programs are SA’s being exposed to in order to set them up for success on that front?

In preparing for NIL, we knew financial literacy education was crucial for our student-athletes.  Our life skills department had already begun to work on basic financial literacy needs so as we began creating specific NIL education, I decided to collaborate with them to enhance our efforts.  Last year, we worked with Jed Collins, a former NFL athlete and founder of Money Vehicle (an education platform covering a multitude of financial needs) who came on campus to meet with student-athletes in person.  Additionally, we know that taxes are very important when it comes to NIL, so Jed and I hosted multiple Instagram Live and Zoom sessions for the student-athletes and their parents.  As we prepare for this upcoming year, we have been meeting with each sport individually to better understand their financial literacy needs.  We plan to build out individualized programs for each and will continue to utilize Jed as an additional resource for our student-athletes.

For a variety of the education we do, I have been trying to think of ways to utilize programs/professors on campus as well.  I believe that campus collaboration would be a strong resource for our athletes as well.

What kind of staff positions do you think are necessary to execute in the NIL sphere effectively? In both the Athletics department and the Fundraising Arm?

Speaking from the NIL perspective, I am honestly still trying to best understand what our needs are.  With the change in our state legislation that now allows us to facilitate deals, we do plan to be a resource for businesses and student-athletes navigating NIL opportunities.  With that being said, we will probably start with 1-2 more staff members that can help me specifically in that regard, allowing me to focus on the program as a whole (education, social media, donor relations, etc.).

From a fundraising arm,  I think right now where we are, it is crucial that he and I continue to communicate often to ensure we are working together in conversations with donors and collectives.  Eventually, it will be interesting to see if this becomes a responsibility for the fundraising staff, and if so, I definitely believe either a larger staff, or a shift of responsibility would be necessary.

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