Iowa City NIL Club Launches and Will Pay Hawkeye Football Players
The NCAA owned the rights to each individual athlete's name, image, and likeness prior to a Supreme Court ruling in late June of 2021 giving those rights back to them.
When the NIL became common language surrounding college athletics, most thought that those athletes would be selling clothing with their name on it, appearing in cringey commercials for a local pizza shop (see below), and -- for the best of the best -- maybe getting a shoe deal with Nike.
To the chagrin of nearly everyone involved, things quickly devolved into universities and communities around said universities putting together NIL collectives in which these players can receive upwards of millions of dollars to attend their school and represent their sports programs.
I talked about this with Keith Murphy of WHO13 on an episode of Cornstalks and Sports Talk in April -- you can listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and anywhere else you get your podcasts. I'm personally not a fan of the whole idea.
You can hear about some of those offers from first from Iowa's newest five-star football commit, Kadyn Proctor:
Though Proctor says the money didn't have any sort of influence on his decision, it appears Hawkeye fans in the Iowa City area are willing to shell out some cash in order to ensure a pipeline of talent continues to enter the Iowa football program.
According to the Iowa City NIL Club (ICNC) website, "The ICNC is a player-led fan community that benefits members of the Iowa football team. Through the Iowa City NIL Club, these members of the team provide fans with digital and in-person experiences such as meet-and-greets, autograph sessions, and much more throughout the year. The ICNC generates revenue by selling digital Access Passes. The Access Pass allows fans to become members of the NIL Club and serves as the ticket to all fan engagement opportunities that the ICNC has to offer."
You can join 'Early Access' now on their site where their content will launch in July.
Big names like Xavier Nwankpa and Arland Bruce IV from the Hawkeye football program have released curated statements regarding the new NIL collective that claims the "Proceeds from the sales will equally support every team member that is participating."
A program called FLIGHT is currently in place with the University of Iowa Athletics department to help educate its athletes on the financial potential of NIL deals.