Jul 1, 8:52 AM
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For the first time ever, college athletes were given the right to make money off of their name, image and likeness beginning Thursday, and it appears two Michigan football players have already begun doing so.
Thursday morning, Michigan running back Blake Corum and wide receiver Mike Sainristil announced on their Instagram pages that they had partnered with Yoke Gaming. Founded by a former Notre Dame walk-on football player, Yoke Gaming allows fans to pay money to play video games with celebrities. The company says it has already partnered with hundreds of college athletes.
“We are COLLEGE ATHLETES…” Corum and Sainritil both wrote in their identical Instagram posts announcing the partnership. “We are building our brands and working everyday to be the best student-athletes we can be. We finally have the chance to get paid for marketing opportunities. This is my first paid post announcing I’ve joined @yokegaming. All fans can now game with me on the @yokegaming app. All athletes DM me and I can help you get set up and let’s get PAID.”
While it’s difficult to verify with more than 900 athletes on Michigan’s campus, it’s believed that the two are the first Wolverines to announce name, image and likeness partnerships. They will not be the last, of course, as Thursday’s change is expected to impact athletes in all sports at Michigan.
Name, image and likeness compensation, NIL for short, is simply compensation derived from a players own personal brand. Schools nor the NCAA are allowed to pay players, and players are expected to gain their partnerships, sponsorships and other income without using their school’s name, image and likeness.
Thursday morning, the University of Michigan released its NIL policy. While lengthy in nature, the University made clear that all NIL revenue will be independent of the school.
“The University of Michigan supports student-athletes receiving compensation for the use of their name, image and likeness from sources outside the University consistent with the requirements of the future Michigan state law and limited guidance provided by the NCAA.
The University of Michigan is not responsible for providing or procuring name, image and likeness opportunities for any student-athlete(s),” Michigan wrote. “The University of Michigan is not responsible for any tax liabilities or other costs student-athletes incur as a result of their choice to engage in name, image and likeness activities.
“Student-athletes, like all students and staff of the University, may not use the University name, trademarks, service marks, logos, symbols, or any other intellectual property, whether registered or not, without appropriate licensing approval.”
Furthermore, the University stated that athletes will not be able to earn compensation during organized team activities (practices, games, team events) and will not be able to sell any paraphernalia provided by the athletic department. Any violations of Michigan’s full rules, found here, may result in forfeited collegiate eligibility.