How NIL Bill can help more than just football stars

Matt Connollyabout 2 months
Aritcle written by:Matt ConnollyMatt Connolly

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CLEMSON — South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster was at Clemson earlier this week for a ceremonial signing of a Name, Image and Likeness Bill.

The bill, which was officially signed in May, will allow college athletes in the state of South Carolina to profit off of their name, image or likeness beginning in July of 2022. That date could move up to this summer, depending on what happens with NCAA rules.

While star football players are expected to be the biggest beneficiaries of the new bill, Tigers Athletics Director Dan Radakovich expects others to profit off of it as well.

“I think this could be a real boom for women’s athletics as well, because there’s an incredible market,” Radakovich said. “I think it’s the gymnast at UCLA who has more Twitter and Instagram followers than any collegiate athlete. So yes, this will be beneficial to all student-athletes.”

UCLA has two female gymnasts — Kyla Ross and Nia Dennis — with at least 400,000 Instagram followers, making their accounts extremely valuable if they eventually choose to market products on them.

At Clemson, Valerie Cagle is a female athlete plenty of kids look up to. If she marketed softball products in the Upstate, there would surely be some interest.

Cagle has nearly 4,000 Instagram followers right now, and that number will likely grow throughout her time at Clemson.

Tigers defensive end K.J. Henry offered further reasoning for why he expects non-star college athletes to be marketable.

“I know when these guys go back to their hometown, a majority of them here, that’s a big name,” Henry said. “Regardless of what scale that’s on. When you get to this level a lot of people look up to you and idolize you.”

K.J. Henry-Clemson-Tigers-football

Clemson defensive end K.J. Henry is entering his redshirt junior season. (Brian Rothmuller/Getty Images)

Henry raises a good point.

While some athletes won’t have much notoriety on a national or even regional level, back in their hometowns they are celebrities. They go back to their high schools and hometowns and kids their idolize them — whether they’re the back-up safety for the College Football Playoff-bound Tigers or the best 3-point shooter on the Clemson women’s basketball team.

“I think this will be great for everybody,” Henry said. “Obviously there will be different levels, but at the same time I think everybody can benefit from it. It’s a step in the right direction.”