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For some time, name, image, and likeness (NIL) laws relating to student-athletes had remained relatively stagnant. However, in June 2021, these long-standing rules and guidelines were abruptly (and drastically) changed. Finally, college athletes are permitted to take part in NIL activities, so long as those activities comply with state laws. Further, as student-athletes navigate the ins and outs of NIL activities, they will be permitted to utilize professional service providers.

Even if the athlete’s own state has never passed NIL laws, these new rules will still apply. No matter where the athlete resides, taking part in NIL activities will no longer be considered a violation of NCAA rules. However, states (as well as athletic conferences and colleges) will be allowed to establish reporting requirements as they see fit.

Navigating Finances in the New Age of NIL

Still, this doesn’t mean that student-athletes won’t need to navigate the financial implications if they opt to engage in NIL activities. In fact, according to U.S. News, “there will be tax issues to consider, contracts to review and compliance issues to deal with. Student-athletes are suddenly small business owners.”

That being said, how should student-athletes go about budgeting and paying for college, considering these new complexities they may face?

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3 Financial Tips for College Athletes (In the NIL Era)

It has been estimated that “the annual NIL value per student-athlete could range from $1,000 – $10,000.” In this new world of NIL, here are some of our top financial tips for budgeting and handling college finances as a student-athlete.

1. Looking for an NIL Deal? Make Sure to Find an Agent

If you’re a student-athlete hoping to secure an NIL deal, you’ll benefit from having an agent. Not only that, but you should also make sure to hire someone who can get the job done — bad agents do exist, so you’ll need to put in the research before making any hiring decisions. Take a look at whoever the agent has represented in the past, for instance. In what ways has the agent helped those past (or current) clients? Try to get in touch with those individuals, so that you can talk to them directly, and learn more about their experiences. Don’t let an agent take advantage of you.

2. Stay on Top of Budgeting (and Stay Aware of Taxes and Fees)

Sure, budgeting can feel like a tedious financial task. However, as a student-athlete in the era of NIL, you’ll certainly benefit from staying on top of your budget. If you make an NIL endorsement deal, especially, you’ll generally be faced with a variety of taxes and fees. If you’re not staying on top of what you owe in fees, the likelihood of future financial complications will increase. As you go about saving, investing, and spending money earned through NIL deals, make sure you’re keeping close tabs on this flow of money.

3. Save and Invest Your NIL Earnings

During your peak earning years, in particular, make sure to build up your future assets. Investing is one of the best ways to accomplish this, as you begin making money through NIL activities. Remember, make sure to account for this in your budget.

The transition from high school to college can be confusing, whether or not you’re a student-athlete. That’s why the College Benefits Research Group offers an array of virtual workshops, designed specifically for incoming college students. Want more information? Just contact CBRG through our site today.

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