Grambling State is the latest HBCU to sign a Name Image and Likeness (NIL) deal that would pay out student-athletes on scholarships annually.
The news was announced by ESPN reporter Pete Thamel this past Monday. Thamel’s report said that two companies — Urban Edge Network and Athylt -— have committed to the deals but that the deals are still being worked on according to a GSU official, so details, including their financial impact to the university and its students, remain unclear.
NIL deals are described as lucrative opportunities for college athletes to sign contracts and get paid off their name without having to violate NCAA policy. Student-athletes can accept endorsement deals to not only help boost their images for the next level of athletics but also help fund the athletes as they work their way through college through athletic competition.
The deals come to the college scene at the most prominent time in college sports history.
The U.S. Supreme Court last summer ruled in favor of student-athletes being allowed to be compensated for their name, image, and likeness. That move was a turnaround from the NCAA’s policy that for years prevented college athletes from taking any deals publicly from big-name endorsers, even though the players have helped generate billions of dollars for collegiate athletic programs.
Since the NCAA passed the new policy in June of 2021, HBCUs have recently entered the mix. Cameron Christon, a GSU senior from Allen, Texas, and current scoring leader for the GSU men’s basketball team, said the deals are a potential game-changer for student athletes.
“It’s something that can change not only my life, but countless athletes,” Christon said. “This money can be put to building up our brand and taking a lot of pressure off parents that struggle to provide for their student athletes.”
HBCU college athletes have already started signing lucrative NIL deals with larger companies. Both Percy Miller of Xavier University and Shedeur Sanders of Jackson State University have signed million-dollar deals, with Sanders becoming the first HBCU athlete to sign a NIL deal with Gatorade.
Tramel reported that the unnamed GSU official said more details regarding GSU’s new NIL deals will be revealed soon.