USC Football announced a partnership with J1S on Thursday to launch BLVD Studios, an innovative in-house creative lab that will be used to help student-athletes “build, promote, and leverage their brands and maximize their market value”.
— USC Football (@USC_FB) October 29, 2020
The University of Texas launched a similar program in late August: “LEVERAGE”.
— Texas Football (@TexasFootball) August 31, 2020
These announcements come in light of the NCAA announcing on April 29 that it would “modernize” its name, image and likeness rules for the 2021-22 academic year.
Essentially what the change does for student-athletes is that it allow them the opportunity to profit off their own name, compared to previous years when NCAA athletes saw no money at all.
What Texas and USC have done, and what other schools will continue to invest in, is offering resources for student-athletes to help build their brands at their school. This demonstrates a shift in approach to recruiting — another layer to the process that prospective recruits have to consider before making a commitment.
“Being able to bring in J1S and BLVD Studios to focus on the student-athlete and their brand marketing is huge for us,” said USC Football Head Coach Clay Helton in the school’s press release. “This is a new landscape in college football and to be successful you have to be proactive.”
While the NIL rule changes will financially benefit high-visible sports such as football and basketball the most, the trickle-down effect could apply to smaller sports, like swimming, in the form of social media, for example.
Ultimately, the school’s that are best able to build student-athlete branding will likely reap the rewards of an increased interest in recruits around the country.