AUSTIN, Texas — College athletes in Texas are in the early stages of the NIL-era of college athletics. As of July 1, athletes in Texas as well as 19 other states can profit off their name, image and likeness for the first time in modern NCAA history. An additional seven states were added to the list last week.  

“The new interim policy provides college athletes and their families some sense of clarity around name, image and likeness, but we are committed to doing more,” Division III Presidents Council chair Fayneese Miller said in a statement. “We need to continue working with Congress for a more permanent solution.” 

The new policy gives room for potentially 460,000 NCAA student athletes to sign endorsement and sponsorship deals with brands. 

According to the NCAA’s website, the policy provides the following guidance to college athletes, recruits, their families and member schools:

  • Individuals can engage in NIL activities that are consistent with the law of the state where the school is located. 
  • Colleges and universities may be a resource for state law questions.
  • College athletes who attend a school in a state without an NIL law can engage in this type of activity without violating NCAA rules related to name, image and likeness.
  • Individuals can use a professional services provider for NIL activities.
  • Student-athletes should report NIL activities consistent with state law or school and conference requirements to their school.

Trevis Graham, a senior wide receiver on the Texas State Football team is turning to social media to work with brands. He has almost 75,000 followers on TikTok, a social media platform that allows users to post videos on the site.

“I think one of the things that changes for me is the fact that I can actually monetize videos,” Graham said. “It does help to be able to monetize videos because being a college athlete, it's really time consuming and you kind of get discouraged when you are doing something and it's like you kind of do it just cause and just like out of your free time. It'll help to be able to make money off of it. Also, it opens doors for just a lot of things outside of the money.”

His videos are centered around being a Division I college athlete and his faith. 

“It started off little by little making kinda comedy sketches and then I kinda got into stuff like that,” Graham said. 

He’s not the only athlete turning to social media to work with different brands.

Janell Fitzgerald, a senior on the Texas state volleyball team, has almost 100,000 followers on TikTok. During the spring of 2021, she led the nation with 483 kills.

She’s been waiting to make money off the social media platform since she started gaining a following in the fall of 2020.

She spoke in front of Congress in June to state why she thinks athletes should be able to profit off their hard work. 

“I love playing,” Fitzgerald said. “I love having the reach that I do and the platform that I do, but we work hard so we should be able to do it. We should be able to use our platform just as any other student is able to and this is our job.”

Suddenly the push of a button could bring in thousands of dollars, something she feels college athletes around the country have long deserved for decades. 

Lauryn Thompson, a senior on the Texas State Basketball Team is turning to YouTube to work with brands. 

“I think it's awesome that we can have businesses open doors for ourselves and build our future now rather than waiting and getting out of college and being like what now,” Thompson said. “I'm just gonna take any opportunity that come to me if it is YouTube, or if it's working with people or building my brand and branching that out very far. I'm just gonna do it. I'm used to working hard and knowing what it takes.”