How has this changed college golf?

It’s been just over a year since name, image and likeness legislation was enacted, giving college athletes the ability to engage in activities including sponsorship deals, take advantage social media for pay and getting paid for coaching, making personal appearances and signing autographs.

And the ramifications have been far-reaching, perhaps greatest in high-revenue sports like football and basketball, but also in college golf.

USA Today’s Paul Myerberg wrote about the subject at length in an article that debuted Friday, noting that college athletics will ultimately be defined before and after the benchmark. From his story:

A revolution ensued.

What was meant to bring an irreversible change to the longtime hobbyist model has done just that and more, upending the landscape to such an extreme degree that a timeline can be separated into two distinct pre- and post-NIL eras.

With a year under our belt, let’s take a look at NIL, what worked and what didn’t, and what it all means for the world of college golf.

Ingrid Lindblad of Sweden watches her ball from the sixth tee during the first round of the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament at Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, North Carolina, Thursday, June 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Steve Helber )

What’s wrong with NIL?

The NCAA has done little to govern the policy, giving the air of what Myerberg called “a Wild West-type atmosphere where NIL offerings have the potential to replace more traditional selling points such as the recent successes and installations”.

According to the story, third-party donor-led groups stepped into this power vacuum to amass vast pools of money for NIL opportunities. Existing outside the watchful eyes of university compliance departments, these collectives have drawn attention for rubbing against the basic principle that no NIL agreement can include compensation for sports performance.

“I don’t think anyone anticipated this concept around collectives. This is where probably, at least among the people I speak with, there are concerns about how they may or may not function,” said Jon Steinbrecher, the commissioner of the Mid-American Conference.

Current NIL rules have also left behind foreign student-athletes in the United States on an F1 visa, which allows immigration as a full-time student but prohibits off-campus employment for all but specific.

This presented a particular situation at the US Women’s Open of the year, when Ingrid Lindblad, the world’s second amateur, trailed only one stroke after the first round. While other middle schoolers like Rose Zhang were dressed in NIL-issued gear during the event, Lindblad wore a Swedish national team polo shirt and did not wear a hat during her first 6-under 65, the lowest lap by an amateur in championship history.

golf week Beth Ann Nichols explained that international student-athletes are restricted when it comes to NIL offers based on student visas. As the rules stand, LSU coach Garrett Runion says Lindblad is not allowed to make money through NIL, although the school is doing everything it can to try to open up this possibility. International students risk losing their immigration status by taking NIL money.

Lindblad, a nine-time winner at LSU, played alongside the greatest player of the modern era, Annika Sorenstam, who was making her first major LPGA start in 14 years. It’s not uncommon for players without logos to select one overnight in a major league when they’re in the spotlight. Lindblad didn’t have that opportunity, although they were still in contention until the final round, finishing tied for 11th place.

This week’s $10 million purse was the largest in women’s golf history. The winner, Minjee Lee, won $1.8 million. If Lindblad had turned pro that week, she could have cashed in big.

When asked if she had any regrets, the LSU junior replied, “When you say it, yeah…it would have been fun to earn some money, but I think I’m going to stay in college for a while. little more .”

Only one amateur has won the championship, Catherine Lacoste in 1967.

Team USA members Rachel Heck, left, and Rose Zhang smile during a practice round at the 2022 Curtis Cup at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pennsylvania on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (Chris Keane/USGA )

What’s wrong with NIL?

While some like Lindblad have been forced into an unfortunate escape, Myerberg says “NIL’s biggest impact is seen in the big deals signed by female athletes in non-revenue-generating sports; more than any legislation this side of Title IX, NIL has created enormous gender equality where none existed before.

“What really isn’t covered is the swimmer or softball player who could never monetize their NIL, never monetize themselves, for the first time to be able to profit,” said attorney Max Forer. at Miller Nash and former Oregon offense. lineman.

According to NIL Opendorse, female basketball players accounted for 15.7% of the total compensation paid to all athletes. According to a transaction tracker by Opendorse, female sports athletes represent five of the top nine sports in overall NIL activity.

NIL has given athletic departments the ability to educate athletes on topics previously unaddressed in the college space. Athletes learn about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and brand building, Steinbrecher said.

“Or communication skills. To know a little more about the law, about contracts, about public relations, or relations with the media or social relations. Make your choice.”

And while female college golfers have the ability to earn money professionally, the extra income has helped keep some of the top talent in college.

For example, Zhang and Rachel Heck are close friends who trade titles for the Stanford women’s golf team. And the duo have something else in common besides winning – both signed with Excel Sports Management for NIL representation.

Zhang, the world’s No. 1 ranked amateur and Golfweek’s top female college golfer, joined Heck, the 2021 College Player of the Year, who signed with Excel last fall and counts Ping and Stifel among her growing roster. of partnerships.

Other examples, though perhaps less stellar, include the announcement that John Daly II had signed a NIL deal with Hooters. At the time, the son of two-time major champion John Daly had only played in one college tag team tournament. And former NBA star JR Smith has signed a NIL deal with popular sportswear brand Lululemon. Smith became Lululemon’s first male golf ambassador. Smith is unable to wear Lululemon at NCAA-sanctioned events, but he can wear Lululemon in company-branded advertisements.

PNC Championship 2021

John Daly II and dad John Daly during the second round of the 2021 PNC Championship on Sunday, December 19, 2021 in Orlando. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

What’s next for NIL?

It will be interesting to see, Myerberg said, how companies handle NIL transactions after collecting data. Will they continue to sponsor secondary sports like golf, or will they just focus on football and men’s basketball?

The ability of female athletes to gain traction in the NIL market, Myerberg explained, could lead to increased investment in women’s programs as universities see interest from third parties.

“It indicates the latent potential there,” said Tom McMillen, president and CEO of LEAD1, an association representing directors and athletic programs in the Football Bowl Subdivision. “The fact that women can enter this advertising rights market and succeed is a very good signal for the future. This can only mean that women’s sports are going to be more popular and that women will continue to be able to benefit from the monetization of their advertising rights. But that won’t happen overnight.

“What seems inevitable is that NIL will trickle down to high school athletes and athletics.”

Already, a total of 10 states allow high school athletes to take advantage of NIL. This evolution of NIL is the next big unknown in college athletics – and perhaps all amateurs.

“After that first year where people kind of got to grips with it, trying to understand it better, I think over the next two years we’ll really see what the impact is,” said David Kmiecik, a senior recruiter. director of Next College Student Athlete, which provides advice and support to prospective athletes and their families. “It is constantly changing and it is constantly evolving. It will constantly evolve. »

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