• What is NIL? And what does it mean for Baylor Athletics?

    Umphrey Bridge headed toward McLane Stadium

    If you pay even a little attention to college athletics, you’ve probably heard the term “NIL” recently. But what is it? And what does it mean for Baylor?

    We’re here to walk you through the basics with a little “Baylor NIL 101” via a quick, three-question FAQ:

    What is “NIL”?

    NIL stands for “Name, Image and Likeness,” and it refers to a student-athlete’s ability to generate revenue based on their talents — including their status as a collegiate student-athlete. For years, NCAA amateurism rules prevented student-athletes from earning money based on their status — no paid autograph signings, no product endorsements, no capability to teach lessons or host camps/clinics, etc. Recent changes now allow for such activities (although related policies and laws are still evolving at the national, state, conference, and school level).

    One important note: NIL is not paying student-athletes to play, or bidding for recruits. That’s still against the rules. But… NIL entities are permitted to create baseline, team-wide deals, where every student-athlete in a particular sport is provided the opportunity to earn compensation each year through established agreements documenting deliverables.

    How is Baylor Athletics handling NIL?

    A group of successful Baylor alumni has worked with Startup Waco, a nonprofit established in 2017 to support local entrepreneurs, to launch the GXG program. The goal of GXG is to help Baylor student-athletes conceptualize, create and grow new businesses and build their personal brands. GXG offers student-athletes NIL opportunities (appearances, promotional opportunities, etc.), as well as education about entrepreneurship and personal branding and connections to marketing/influencer agencies. It’s an “all boats rise” approach, based on the belief that Baylor student-athletes’ growth and success is also good for Waco and Central Texas.

    Student-athletes who join the GXG program are compensated for their efforts; think of this as taking the place of part-time jobs that most student-athletes don’t have time for, and helping them afford things that scholarships don’t always cover (food, housing, etc.). Those who end up going pro will also have a jumpstart on marketing themselves at the next level, while those who begin careers in other fields will have found a way to better support themselves through college beyond their athletic scholarship.

    The goal for GXG is to be able to establish team-wide deals, where student-athletes coming to Baylor to play a particular sport will know they also have the opportunity to earn compensation beyond their scholarship.

    Worth noting: Baylor student-athletes also have additional avenues to put their NIL rights to use outside of GXG through programs like Brandr, which allows student-athletes to earn money off the sales of sales and products that are co-branded with Baylor marks, and Opendorse, which allows companies and individuals to sign one-on-one deals with individual student-athletes.

    How can alumni and fans help?

    Those looking to support Baylor Athletics have long been encouraged to join the Bear Foundation, where fundraising efforts go toward student-athlete scholarships — and that’s still important; scholarships are the foundational starting point for supporting student-athletes. Giving to capital projects (like the Foster Pavilion and Fudge Football Development Center) is also helpful, as is supporting team excellence funds.

    The GXG program simply offers fans another way to financially support Baylor Athletics and our student-athletes. You can give to the sport of your choosing, or to the general fund, from which advisors will direct funds as best needed. Like other donations, gifts to GXG are tax-deductible.

    Bottom-line: If you’re looking to help Baylor in the NIL world, GXG is one way to do it. You can connect with GXG online (gxg.startupwaco.com) and via social media (Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn), and learn more about Baylor’s NIL initatives at baylorbears.com/nil.

    Sic ’em, Bears!