University of Memphis launches name, image and likeness (NIL) database
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Have you ever wanted to have a college athlete help with your business’s advertisement, come to your community event, be a surprise guest to your kid’s birthday party?
With new guidelines on Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals, which would allow college athletes to be compensated for the use of their personal brand, this is now a possibility, and the University of Memphis is trying to lead by example with the launch of their new athlete database MaximUM.
“It’s kind of a one-stop-shop for brands, business owners, local community members, and individuals to come in, find a student-athlete, pitch them a deal, pay them, and do the whole transaction,” said Bridget Perine.
Perine is UofM’s student-athlete branding and image coordinator.
She’s been working with both sides of the NIL dealings, UofM teams and Memphis businesses, on how this can benefit students and strengthen the connection between Tiger athletics and Bluff City fans and businesses.
“It’s another recruiting asset. It’s another part of what makes being a student-athlete here so special,” Perine said.
As she describes, every UofM student-athlete creates a profile on the NIL platform Opendorse, writing bios and linking their social media accounts.
Anyone, whether they’re in Memphis or in another part of the country, can pitch a deal to these students, but it’s up to the student to decide if they want to go through with the deal or not.
Students can also make profile preferences to appeal to a specific type of sponsor.
“Say I’m a student-athlete, and I’m interested in business finance,” Perine said hypothetically. “I can add that to my profile. Businesses that are interested in a student athlete doing a deal within that industry can find you based on that.”
“We have to be able to compete for these players,” said Highland Hundred Board of Directors member Douglas Leininger.
UofM boosters are also looking at the potential NIL deals can bring to various programs.
Highland Hundred is the booster club for UofM’s football team, and over the years have purchased several high dollar items to help out the program such as new headsets for coaches, turf for one of the practice fields, and even help pay for the new jumbotron that will go in the new indoor practice facility.
Now, the 650-member group is looking to help sponsor athletes and grow both their bond with the program and their membership.
“We’re not a FedEx writing a check,” Leininger said. “But when 650 individuals get together, now you’re writing a FedEx-sized check. We’re trying to expand our identity with players’ parents, small businesses, this is for everyone.”
Highland Hundred’s goal is to grow to 1,000 members, which would grow the number of donations used to help with football facilities and NIL sponsorships.
On the recruiting side, Perine said MaximUM is one of the only all-encompassing NIL databases among Division I programs in the country, and it can be used to give UofM a leg up on the competition.
“We’re going to promote (these NIL deals). We’re going to repost and comment on them via social media,” Perine said. “We’re not telling them how much these deals are worth, but we are trying to inform (recruits) that ‘Hey. Memphis student-athletes are in this.’ We’re competing with other schools. We’re doing just as well, if not better than other schools.”
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