ATHENS — The NIL era of college football is fast approaching, Georgia among the five states with legislation that will allow for student-athletes to receive compensation from brands for use of their name image and likeness.
A reminder of such was served up last week, when it was disclosed that TJ Callaway, founder and CEO of Buckhead-based retailer Onward Reserve was expected to present NIL opportunity to five Georgia athletes including quarterback Brock Vandagriff and kicker Jack Podlesny.
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Former Georgia All-American and Ray Guy Ward winner Drew Butler runs the college division for Icon Source.
“We’re very smiler to Match dot come or Zillow dot come if you are in the real estate market,” Butler explained. “What we want to do is create an opportunity for a brand.”
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Butler’s company is an on-demand, digital marketplace that utilizes technology to connect athletes and brands in a transparent environment, also sharing details of such transactions to respective universities and their compliance departments.
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“We want to give brands the opportunity to take the guard rails down around what has been the biggest no-no in college athletics for over 100 years, and say, ‘We are looking to do this the right way, and we’re going to use Icon Source to make sure its done the right way.’
“The last thing a hyper-local brand who’s trying to support a student-athlete would want to do is jeopardize that student-athlete’s eligibility.”
Butler spoke with DawgNation about some of the ins and outs of the NIL legislation, which goes live in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and New Mexico on July 1.
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It’s possible, Butler explained, that the NCAA could come up with a national NIL policy that would apply to all 50 states before July 1, which would set this new marketplace into rapid motion.
Butler explained how the NIL could benefit both the powerhouse programs and the smaller programs, also reflecting on how companies aren’t just looking for elite college stars.
Butler also shared hypotheticals on how players could cut deals with different brands that don’t infringe on one another.
The former Georgia punter, who played for the Bulldogs from 2007-11 and was in the NFL with Pittsburgh, Detroit and Arizona (2012-2016), said the NIL laws could help stem the “One and Done” issue college basketball faces, too.
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