By Nick Pantages
The fight from collegiate athletes to have the right to make money for themselves through advertisements, social media and other forms of marketing was fierce. Student-athletes were playing a huge role in the success of billion dollar companies, but didn’t receive any portion of the revenue they were creating.
With their persistent determination, the NCAA finally cracked.
On June 30, 2021, the Name, Image and Likeness policy, known more commonly as NIL, was created. It allowed athletes across all levels and divisions of collegiate sports to become compensated based on the three terms in the name.
The main beneficiaries of this are the elite Division I collegiate student-athletes. The players who play for high-profile schools with big social media presences are the ones who receive the six-figure deals with large-name companies.
This leaves Division III athletes, like the ones here at Springfield College, in a peculiar position. Many have had to find interesting, new ways to utilize and capitalize on these rules, as many of these athletes do not have the tens of thousands of followers that the higher-profile Division I athletes do.
One of the athletes at Springfield College who has found a way to benefit from the NIL rules is Emma Robinson, a junior on the Springfield College field hockey team.
Robinson, a native of Wilbraham, Mass., has used these rules to develop a partnership with her longtime and local gym, Continuum Performance Center in East Longmeadow.
“I have trained there since I was younger and the owner asked me last winter if I could do a partnership with him to represent their brand to college athletes,” Robinson said.
Continuum Performance Center is a gym that uses personalized training methods to help their athletes maximize their training regimens.
Robinson thinks her time at CPC had a positive effect on her athletic performance, describing her experience as “great.”
Financially, it helps as well. Although it does not bring Robinson any extra money, she gets to go to the gym for free.
With athletes in particular, many do not have the luxury of the on-campus facilities in the offseason. This forces many athletes to cough up some money for a gym membership, which is an expense that many collegiate athletes simply do not want to pay for.
Although it does not net her any extra money, the ability to be able to use CPC’s advanced facilities for free in the offseason is definitely a benefit for Robinson.
One thing that NIL deals accomplish is putting an emphasis on the social media presence of their players. Many players with big-name NIL deals have posts with their social media accounts featuring the company they have a deal with, and Robinson’s deal with CPC is no different.
Robinson created a social media fitness account that is associated with the gym, which is something that she enjoys. Robinson also used her fitness account to put her spin on her side of fitness, featuring some healthy recipes and food to satisfy the nutritional benefits athletes need, along with the physical activity.
The social media aspect of Robinson’s deal helped her in more ways than just is what is seen on the outside, however. On the page, you see the vibrant healthy foods and workout pictures, but the account is more than that to Robinson.
“I feel like the whole overall experience has given me confidence,” Robinson said. “Even making that fitness account was way out of my comfort zone, but I ended up having a lot of fun doing it.”
This small fitness account sums up the unknown benefits of the NIL rules for Division III athletes like the ones on the campus of Springfield College.
Despite the lack of financially stable deals, the impact NIL has had on athletes like Robinson is noticeable – and it has shown some of the positives it can bring to the campus of Springfield College.
Photo Courtesy Springfield College