May 5, 2021

Alabama becomes latest school to launch program assisting student-athletes with personal branding

The era of college athletes profiting off of their name, image and likeness is rapidly…

The era of college athletes profiting off of their name, image and likeness is rapidly approaching, and several schools are developing strategies to assist their student-athletes in this new era of college athletics. Now the biggest brand in college football just joined the fray. 

Alabama announced Tuesday that it has created a program called The Advantage, which will assist and educate Crimson Tide student-athletes with the tools necessary to build and elevate their personal brands. The program, which will combine on-campus resources with external organizations, will focus on the management of each individual brand, maximizing personal social media platforms and education on financial literacy. 

“We are excited to launch this new program, which even further demonstrates our commitment to fully developing our student-athletes,” Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne said. “We are blessed to have incredible resources on campus with our institution, allowing us to better fit our specific needs and evolve The Advantage, as needed.”

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed a bill last month that allows college student-athletes to receive compensation under the NCAA’s new name, image and likeness legislation. That law is expected to go into effect on July 1.

Alabama’s announcement comes less than a month after Florida State announced its program, Apex, which is billed as a multi-tiered program designed to empower student-athletes to capitalize on upcoming name, image and likeness legislation. Like the state of Alabama, that legislation will go into effect on July 1 in the state of Florida.

“I am extremely proud of the comprehensive nature of the Apex program,” said Florida State athletic director David Coburn. “The cornerstone principle from the start of this process was to educate our student-athletes, and education plays a central role in every aspect of Apex. We believe we are the only Power Five school in the nation that will offer two for-credit courses in NIL education. By partnering with the FSU College of Business, the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship and [content and compliance software company] INFLCR, we will provide a complete educational process from which our student-athletes will benefit immediately and throughout their lives.”

Texas announced its program, LEVERAGE, in August 2020. Like the other two programs, it will focus heavily on financial literacy, risk management, wealth management and tax strategies. 

“Texas is a land of opportunity, Austin is a thriving, dynamic and energetic city right in the middle of it, and The University of Texas is like none other,” said Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte. “All of those factors, along with the national and worldwide power of the Longhorn brand are among the many things that will be key elements in our exciting new LEVERAGE program. The program is designed to prepare, enhance and play a critical role in our student-athletes developing and growing their personal brands.”

Several states have passed laws allowing players to benefit off their name, image and likeness. The NCAA, however, has yet to create a nationwide governance policy on the issue.