An 8-year-old girl holds a chain on a swing in a playground.
“Let me play,” he begins.
For the rest of the Nike commercial, first aired in 1995, young girls play, swing and play volleyball, and the statistics show the physical and emotional benefits of the sport.
“If you let me play, I will have more confidence. …. My chances of getting breast cancer will be reduced by 60%. … I will be less depressed.
“If you let me play, I’ll learn what it means to be strong,” the girls say.
Now it has become “allow me to play”, “allow me to get paid”.
Fifty years after Chapter IX, federally funded schools were required to provide equal access to sports for girls and women, and the opportunity for female athletes to benefit from their names, images, and similarities at the high school and college level was another potential revolutionary leap forward.
In addition to the physical and social benefits of doing sports, female athletes still walk in the undiscovered waters of the NIL. They are building social media empires. They gain financial stability, which can lead them to and beyond their professional athletic careers.
“It gives us a backbone,” said 17-year-old UCLA Jada Williams.
Get used to Jada Williams.
The 5-foot-8 guard is a two-time member of the U.S. Junior National Team and will be committed to UCLA in March 2021. Williams, who finished 20th in his class according to ESPN, was one of the first high school athletes to sign the NIL. agree when you did it last year. He appeared in a Spalding commercial with NBA star Damian Lillard last year, is an ambassador for Lillard’s Move Insoles and is sponsored by sportswear company Gymshark.
Although Williams still has less than 1 million followers on Instagram and TikTok, his mark is a key indicator for companies assessing sponsorship potential – Connecticut star Paige Bueckers, the first college athlete to sign with Gatorade, is a dwarf. From January 1 to June 1, Bueckers garnered an average of 104,225 likes per Instagram share, which is about 10.4% of his 1 million followers. With about 622,000 followers, Williams has an engagement rate of 18.5%.
Williams did not intend to create a brand on social media. He and his coach just broadcast basketball videos. Then she began to demonstrate her fashion sense, friends and faith in sports shoes.
When talks began about allowing college athletes to take advantage of NIL deals, Williams was confident that it would apply to high school athletes as well. With the growing social media brand, she felt ready.
The opportunities were so lucrative that when Kansas City realized that Missouri, a Native American, did not allow high school athletes to profit from NIL contracts, he decided not to play high school basketball before going to UCLA. His family, including his older sister and mother, realized that the immediate benefits of playing in high school, if properly managed, were no better than the money that would determine the generation.
California is one of 10 states that allow high school athletes to sign NIL contracts. Williams’ family moved to San Diego, and he moved to La Jolla Country Day School, which allowed him to continue playing and make the most of his growing influence.
“The future is really important,” said Williams, who keeps all of his NIL money in a savings account run by his mother. “I think what everyone is doing now will prepare them later. A lot of people think, “Oh, I’ll do that when I get to college,” but it’s starting now. “
The best female athletes are thriving in the NIL space after critics once suggested that women’s sports would never attract attention in the open market.
In the first year of comfortable NIL rules, female college basketball players appeared in national commercials for Gatorade, TikTok and Champion. Female gymnasts can earn thousands from an Instagram post sent to hundreds of thousands of followers. Instead of the men’s basketball players who played in the quarterfinals, or the high-profile players on the same campus, it was UCLA female Reilin Turner who won her first NIL contract with a Nike college athlete.
However, among Division I athletes, 73.5% of NIL compensation is paid to men by Opendorse, which helps advise athletes on approvals and their potential market value.
Teams are behind many of the biggest deals. Reinforcement teams have raised money to provide NIL opportunities for athletes at a particular school, and have strengthened multi-million dollar deals primarily for star players.
The NCAA is still determining how to deal with deep-pocket donors. Under NCAA rules, “pay for the game” and recruitment through NIL funds are prohibited, but the college’s athletics governing body has done little to enforce rules that can vary between states.
There are brands that light up the boxes that athletes with big social media followers come with bargaining opportunities. It was not so easy for former USC beach volleyball player Julia Scoles.
In addition to pursuing a master’s degree and competing for the second consecutive USC NCAA title, grad transfer sought to take advantage of NIL opportunities in the final year of college eligibility. His 10,600 followers on Instagram didn’t get many automatic offers from companies, so he took matters into his own hands with the messaging brands he already supports.
Now, with Suja Juice and other sponsors from supplement company Tennant Products, Scoles, the ambassador of the Free People’s new active clothing line, has “a good starting point for my professional career.”
The two-time NCAA champion hopes to build a professional career in the AVP tour and go to the Olympics. But the way Kerry Walsh Jennings is the next sport is expensive.
Professional beach volleyball players pay for training, coaching and travel expenses themselves. The prize money can only go so far. Sponsorship is a lifeline for many professionals. Scholes’ deals could help him prepare for several tournaments.
For athletes with relatively modest social media followers, NIL opportunities require them to develop business acumen. They need to keep in touch with companies, introduce themselves and create their own brands, all the tools that can serve them as professional athletes or outside of sports.
Steve Simmons, co-founder of NIL Partners, which provides NIL education to athletes, athletics departments and corporate sponsors, said, “As a corporate recruiter, I see these as real-life skills that I want.” “Maybe they won’t be paid on their own when they go to college, and then they can balance the pay gap.”
Hawley Harward, Scholes’ partner at USC, began by identifying the brands he already used. He contacted the Raising Canes for a one-time deal at last year’s Manhattan Beach Open. The two-time NCAA champion, who has long loved Aquahydrate’s bottled water, has approached the brand for sponsorship. He received regular water transfers and was featured on the brand’s Instagram page.
Harvard was deliberate about who to work with. If he no longer privately defended brands, he would not do so openly. With a master’s degree in marketing, he realized that authenticity is a key part of any partnership.
“I don’t want to be a walking billboard,” Harvard said.
Natalie Chow has two poses. A former UCLA guard can spin a basketball on his finger and he can put his hand on his hip with a stern expression. She never thought it would be enough to turn her into a beachwear model.
After averaging 8.8 points and 3.3 rebounds over his three-year UCLA career, Chow, who graduated last year, has made notable NIL deals with Champion and Forever 21. feel comfortable in their bodies. This was after his first contract with the Champion, who appeared in a campaign with UCLA stars Maya Brady and Norah Flatley for female athletes under the slogan “Become your own champion”.
For Chou, who is proud to be a rare Asian-American female athlete in college basketball and defends anti-Asian hatred during a pandemic, the reasons for women’s empowerment and physical positivity were crucial. Chou is determined to use his NIL opportunities simply to earn a quick salary.
“I always say that my mission is just to be represented in court,” Chou said, “but now I’m very happy that I can be out of court in another way.”
NIL allowed young athletes to follow the rich history of women in sports, defending social goals and laying the foundation for future generations.
Williams begins to use his contract with Spalding to arrange mission trips with a sponsor of equipment that presents balls, rings, and Bible. He said he was no longer a teenager with an idea. Finally, she hopes to become the leader of a non-profit organization called Big Goal, which aims to help young people find their purpose in life.
The 17-year-old girl has already found her, and it’s not just on the field.
“I just want to be the one people remember,” he said. “I want to be remembered for someone’s smile or for convincing someone of their dream.”
One of the first players to convince Williams of his dream was Sue Bird. However, with NIL opportunities that allow young athletes to take on more prominent social roles, Williams said he has also found kinship with college stars. Williams’ dreams seem more realistic and achievable when he sees what a 20-year-old like Bueckers has accomplished, rather than chasing the achievements of a 42-year-old five-time Olympic gold medalist. For 12-year-olds who take part in his games and wait for his photos, Williams hopes to be a similar bridge between the present and the future.
Signing a contract with Spalding last year was the first step in becoming the role model Williams always wanted to be. Approaching by a famous equipment company “hit me like a truck,” Williams said. She was crying. He did not have to worry about what would happen if he was allowed to receive a salary.
“It’s real now.”