NIL influence at Mizzou primed to grow further after bill's signing

Eric Blum
Columbia Daily Tribune
Missouri quarterback Connor Bazelak (8) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a touchdown during a game against Georgia on Dec. 12 at Faurot Field.

Nearly two weeks after the NCAA adopted a policy for student-athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness, the momentum behind that movement in Missouri only continues to grow.

Gov. Mike Parson on Tuesday signed the state's NIL bill in Jefferson City, with Tigers athletic director Jim Sterk and UM System President Mun Choi in attendance. Missouri became the 27th state to adopt an NIL bill. Parson's signature made the Show-Me State the final one in the Southeastern Conference's footprint to put pen to paper. 

The law officially goes into effect on Aug. 28, by which time Missouri football will have begun preseason camp and be just a week from its season opener against Central Michigan. The rest of the Tigers' fall sports will have started formal practices, too. 

Every student-athlete has a chance to profit from Missouri's NIL law. Missouri student-athletes such as Columbia native Martez Manuel and freshman quarterback Tyler Macon already have created their own logos to represent their personal brands. 

In the lead-up to the bill's signing, Missouri head football coach Eli Drinkwitz was in Jefferson City a few times to meet with legislators, making it an apparent priority during a busy offseason.  

"I felt like it was something we needed to get to," Sterk said last week. "I wasn't quite sure how we would get there. And we're still not totally sure on all that. But I think the ability for student-athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness, in a way that other students can, I think is very beneficial. The crux of the issue comes with other students that aren't actively recruited, like in intercollegiate athletics, and have folks that are really interested in that.

"And so what are those guardrails to keep us in that area that gives them the opportunity to make money if there is to be made? And also avoid the pitfalls of things going down a road you don't want as well? Those are the challenges."

More:Missouri among states set to allow college athletes to profit off their name, likeness

Missouri safety Martez Manuel (3) celebrates after a sack against Georgia during a game Dec. 12 at Faurot Field.

It took less than a week for a six-figure NIL deal to be handed out, with the Miami football team reportedly earning $540,000. That's $500 per month for the next year for 90 Hurricanes players via Dan Lambert, a Miami booster and founder of South Florida-based mixed-martial arts group American Top Team. 

Fighters such as UFC women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion Amanda Nunes; Dustin Poirier, who defeated longtime rival Conor McGregor on Saturday in a pay-per-view main event; and former MU wrestler Tyron Woodley have trained with ATT.

Now, the revenue will trickle down from some of the top fighters in the world to college athletes. 

More:Mizzou notebook: Drinkwitz, Tigers stay hot with pair of four-star commits

"I think Miami's agreement, where someone comes out and says, 'I'm going to give X amount to each student-athlete.' I don't know how many people had thought of that before," Sterk said of Lambert's decision. "So I think that's something that you can see more of. I think people are just learning how and we're doing education. We'll have education sessions with business leaders and just others as we're allowed to do of, 'Here's how you can be involved in this space if you wanted to work with our student-athletes.'"

Last fall, MU athletics announced a partnership with Opendorse to give student-athletes "education and tools needed to build and elevate their personal brands to capitalize on NIL opportunities," a news release stated. 

More:NCAA Council recommends name, image and likeness policies should be up to schools in states without law beginning Thursday

Tuesday's signing only brings more possibilities to those Tigers hoping to profit off NIL. 

"Today's signing of Missouri's NIL bill ensures our student-athletes will continue to have opportunities to cultivate and benefit from their personal brands," Sterk said in a statement on Tuesday.

Contact Eric Blum at Follow @ByEricBlum on Twitter. 

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