Utah Football: How NIL Impacted Utes Football Program

Now that college athletes can profit from their name, image and likeness, business opportunities are springing up across the country.

And that has certainly been the case in Utah, where athletes like cornerback Clark Phillips III are taking advantage.

Thanks to NIL, he recently made a sensational big purchase.

“One thing I wanted was a nice car,” Phillips said. “I have a red Mustang because it’s red and we’re in Utah. I was there. »

Quarterback Cam Rising declined to give details of anything he purchased through NIL.

“One thing I wanted was a nice car. I have a red Mustang because it’s red and we’re in Utah. I was good there.” – Utah defensive back Clark Phillips III

“Nothing groundbreaking. But it’s been good,” he said. “I tried to be smart with my money and make sure I manage it carefully and act my money. … It (the NIL process) treated us well. We can’t complain. Utah took care of us. It’s positive. It’s a tricky and unfamiliar process, but it’s been good. There is nothing I would change at this time.

College athletics is a billion dollar industry and student-athletes can now earn income for their efforts. Of course, the amount of income depends on the athlete. Although not all student-athletes can buy cars, it helps to have a little extra spending money.

“NIL was definitely a good thing. It’s something college football has been looking for for some time,” Phillips said. “The biggest thing is that most guys aren’t really in trouble anymore. It shouldn’t be a thing where guys don’t have a few bucks in their pockets to go get a sandwich or a burger. That was one of the most important things. It was great for us.

On the other side of that issue is the coaching staff, who now have to deal with rookie questions about NIL. This is something coach Kyle Whittingham and his staff are currently navigating in terms of recruiting.

“NIL had a big impact. I think we’re on the right track to solidify all of that, get our ducks in line. It’s definitely becoming more prevalent in recruiting,” he said. “This class of ’23, that’s part of the equation. When you recruit, these are questions that you are asked, to which you must have answers. This is becoming more and more of a decision maker for children.

Meanwhile, it’s unclear to what extent the NCAA monitors the NIL landscape.

“Where it will go, who knows. I don’t know what parameters or guardrails we’re going to be able to put on it,” Whittingham said. “I don’t know if it can happen unless it happens at the government level. Currently, there does not seem to be much application of the NIL structure that is established. We’ll have to see what happens.

As part of the process of deciding where to sign, recruits seek to optimize ways to monetize their name, image, and likeness.

Phillips has noticed that recruits who come to campus ask a lot of questions about NIL opportunities.

“Definitely. NIL is new. It’s definitely part of recruiting. Guys ask, ‘Hey, how’s your NIL? What’s your market like?'” he said. “Who’s going to make me money other than gambling? That’s definitely a factor now.”

The NCAA Board of Directors passed an interim rule clearing the way for NIL activity that began July 1, 2021, allowing student-athletes to receive financial compensation.

In June 2021, Utah announced the creation of Raising U., which helps Ute student-athletes capitalize on name, image and likeness opportunities.

The school also launched a major initiative two months ago, a NIL market thanks to a partnership with INFLCR.

Meanwhile, in Florida, a former Gators baseball player came up with the idea of ​​creating a business model that raised money from boosters to provide student-athletes with the opportunity to capitalize on NIL. And the NIL collectives were born.

In Utah, there are UtahLockerRoom.com, which is a fan collective. It invites Ute fans to interact with student-athletes with NIL opportunities.

“Everyone wanted the guys to be able to enjoy. The idea of ​​having a name and an image and a likeness is special because guys can take something and put it in their pocket,” Phillips said. “I don’t know the best way to do it, but I just know the best thing is to put money in guys’ pockets, whether it’s salary or NIL. I like the way they started Who knows what it will look like in 10 years, right?

Phillips appreciates how the Utah administration has helped student-athletes navigate all the implications of NIL legislation, such as paying taxes on earned income.

“The administration has done a great job of getting us up to speed on things like taxes. Guys don’t think about it until April,” he said. I was thinking until the administration was like, ‘Hey, you gotta do it now.’ It’s all those things you don’t think about until you start making money and getting a job.

“These little things can be important if you let them slip away. And the conversations with people who are in the labor market really helped me and the internships I was able to participate in with the business school also helped me a lot. I hate finance classes, but they came in handy when I needed them.

Utah QB Cameron Rising (No. 7) is among a number of Utes who have benefited from NIL deals, which allow student-athletes to cash in on their name, image and likeness.

Laura Seitz, Deseret News

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