What goes into Name, Image and Likeness at Temple?

Temple University professor Thilo Kunkel, Deputy Athletic Director Craig Angelos and Temple basketball player Arashma Parks talked about what NIL options are available at the university. Story by Javon Edmonds

For over a century and a half, college sports revolved around the ideal and practice of amateurism. Essentially, this meant the NCAA could make money off the work of student-athletes, but the student-athletes themselves could not benefit from the fruits of their labor. 

Today, there are 28 states that have passed laws that allow student-athletes to profit off the use of their respective names, images, and likenesses.

Pennsylvania’s law went into effect on June 30 of this year, allowing athletes to make profits from things like endorsements, sponsorships and autograph sessions without the college governing bodies being able to step in and restrict athletes’ college eligibility. However, student-athletes cannot associate themselves with adult content, drugs, alcohol, gambling, tobacco, electronic smoking and things their respective schools deem as conflicting with their institutional values.

Each school within the state has its own process that players have to go through with these deals also.  

Thilo Kunkel, an associate professor and director of the Sport Industry Research Center at Temple University, currently teaches a seven-week class at Temple’s School of Sport, Tourism, and Hospitality Management that walks athletes through personal branding and helps them gain a better standing on the NIL phenomenon. Back in June, Kunkel contributed to a paper that was published by Sport Management Review that focused on the value of social media for student-athletes’ names, images and likenesses.

According to Kunkel, athletes at Temple “work with Temple athletics and ask for support and basically submit the proposed deal to the compliance office at Temple athletics. Then, the compliance officers review the deals.”

Compliance officers at Temple make sure the terms of athletes’ deals meet legal and regulatory requirements, usually making sure the athletes don’t agree to terms they cannot legally fulfill. According to Temple Deputy Director of Athletics Craig Angelos, the office also sits down with players and coaching staffs to keep them updated on new information regarding NIL.

According to Angelos, the athletes aren’t the only ones still learning about the process.

“Everyone’s kind of building it gradually as they grow,” Angelos said. “It will continue to take time to build it out and see how things are working… and how it’s being perceived.”

“They are looking to make sure the students get a fair deal,” Kunkel said. “They’re also making sure that the student doesn’t promise anything that doesn’t belong to them.” 

It is important not only that the school has someone like Kunkel to educate student-athletes, but that the compliance office is doing all it can to fully understand the nature of this new phenomenon. Both parties have to know what is and isn’t allowed, or else they could jeopardize an athlete’s funds and their teams’ eligibility and records.

Notable cases of players and programs being punished in the past for the violation of the NCAA’s amateurism laws include the SMU football team of the 1980s (the only football program to receive the death penalty), Michigan basketball in the early 1990s know as the Fab Five, and USC’s Reggie Bush having his records erased and giving back his Heisman Trophy.

While athletes can profit off their own names, images, and likenesses, they cannot profit off of that of the school’s. 

“Other than compliance telling us the state laws, what to do and what not to do… that was pretty much the only help received from Temple,” said redshirt sophomore basketball player Arashma Parks.

According to Parks, he and three of his teammates have deals in place and have taught each other the NIL business. They’ve also done most of their own marketing through social media, a tool Kunkel has described as a “low-hanging fruit.” 

“Those are the easiest ways to monetize,” Kunkel said.

Learning this can be complex, which is why Kunkel’s class was created. However, not every athlete is aware of this. When asked if he knew about and/or took the class, Parks said he “never heard of it.”

He did, however, know about the app named Sportr that Kunkel helped  launch for student-athletes.

Sportr is “an app that is helping student-athletes monetize their names, images, and likenesses. So, we just launched an experience store where people can sell experiences to their fans as well as businesses for sponsorship opportunities,” according to Kunkel.

“Whoever runs that page dm’ed me and asked could he set up a page for me,” Parks said.

So what is known about NIL at Temple is what the athletes can offer, who they can associate with, and who they have to go through. 

However, there is still more to sort out in a college landscape that is constantly changing.

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