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NCAA's name, image and likeness ruling sets off midnight deal frenzy

College athletics have been part of the fabric of American society for well over a century. From this day forward, they will never be the same.

Driving the news: Starting Thursday, all NCAA athletes can earn money from their name, image and likeness without losing their eligibility.

  • What this means: You're going to start seeing athletes participating in national ad campaigns, promoting brands on social media, creating their own youth camps and even launching businesses.
  • Most won't make tens of thousands of dollars, but others — like LSU cheerleader and social media star Olivia Dunne — could rake in serious cash as they balance school, sports and business.

Where it stands: For the past two years, the NCAA has been urging Congress to pass a federal NIL bill to bring uniformity to this new economic landscape. That hasn't happened, leaving us with a hodgepodge of state laws and school policies.

  • 25 states have passed NIL bills, and 15 go into effect today: Alabama, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Texas.
  • The NCAA has instructed schools in other states to craft their own rules, which resulted in lots of late night meetings on Wednesday as athletic departments got up to speed.
  • Congress will likely pass federal legislation eventually. But until then, this is going to be messy and confusing for everyone involved.
  • Restrictions (i.e. no promoting tobacco) vary by state and school, and compliance policies (i.e. how and when an athlete must report NIL deals) remain a mystery at many schools.

Early action: Athletes are wasting no time signing deals, filing for trademarks and teasing apparel lines. A few examples, many of which were announced right at midnight.

  • Antwan Owens, a football player at Jackson State, signed a deal with Three Kings Grooming, a Black-owned hair product shop.
  • Dreamfield, a platform where businesses can book athletes for meet-and-greets and other events, had signed Miami QB D'Eriq King and FSU QB McKenzie Milton to be the public faces of the company.
  • Runza, a regional food chain, is offering deals to the first 100 athletes in Nebraska who opt in and promote their app on social media.
  • Milner Technologies is offering endorsement deals to four female athletes from Florida colleges: a Miami volleyball player, a Florida State soccer player, a UFC track athlete, and a Florida gymnast.
  • Jordan Bohannon, an Iowa basketball player, will sign autographs today at a fireworks store. He's also launching an apparel line.
  • Hanna and Haley Cavinder, identical twins who play basketball at Fresno State and have over 3 million social media followers, have an offer from Boost Mobile.
  • Hundreds of athletes have partnered with Yoke Gaming, an app that lets users play video games with athletes.
  • Wisconsin QB Graham Mertz on Monday became the fist college athlete to release a trademarked personal logo.

The bottom line: For decades, the NCAA has insisted that its athletes should not be compensated beyond the costs of attending college. That concept, called "amateurism," is now over. Welcome to the future.

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