TU introducing three new NIL platforms

Sports editor Callie Hummel discusses the new ways TU student athletes can make money while playing.

If there’s one thing everyone knows about The University of Tulsa, it’s that they love their athletes.

It should come as no surprise, then, that the athletics department has worked with administration to create more Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) deals for their student athletes. An NCAA rule that just changed in 2021, the Supreme Court NCAA v. Alston now allows for collegiate athletes to collect money from the microfame they might acquire from being a top athlete. While TU hasn’t seen many big deals from this yet, it is especially apparent in state schools that have more of a following in their collegiate sports. The two highest earners from NIL deals in 2022 were Alabama quarterback Bryce Young and LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne who both reported making over $1 million throughout the year.

To bring some of these opportunities to TU, the university partnered with three different NIL platforms this semester to benefit student athletes. This means that, with the help of Opendorse, TU now has an Official NIL Marketplace. These partnerships include GHSP Allied NIL, Tulsa Academics Enhancement and Hurricane Impact, Inc, each of which benefit student athletes in different ways.

GHSP Allied NIL provides corporate sponsors with the option to include the intellectual property of TU, like the logos you see on uniforms or other trademarks belonging to the university, during specific athlete’s NIL deals, or bigger corporate deals with the university as a whole. Since a majority of NIL deals require an athlete on video, it’s important that sponsors have permission to broadcast a student advertisement if they’re wearing TU’s logo. Sponsors can also choose to partner with the entirety of TU athletics through the Golden Hurricane Sports Properties. This can be a way for businesses around TU to advertise their company through sponsoring events, stadium signage or other types of visibility. GHSP Allied NIL helps to close this gap and make these partnerships easier for athletes and the university.

Tulsa Academic Enhancement deals less with corporate sponsors and advertisements, instead acting as a resource for the students to continue playing for TU. Tulsa Academic Enhancement gives out awards, up to $8,000 per calendar year, to help student athletes with tuition, books, room and board or any other academic expenses that their athletic and university scholarships don’t already cover. These awards are not generally financed by corporate sponsors as the athletes do not do anything in return for the award, so they are generally donations from alumni or people of the Tulsa community.

The final platform is Hurricane Impact, Inc. Despite holding the Golden Hurricane name, this is an independent 501 (c) (3) nonprofit. The goal is to accept donations to help athletes financially. The new website that just launched on Apr. 1 gives donors the option for one time donations or monthly recurring ones on a Silver Level ($1,000), Gold Level ($2,500) or Platinum Level ($5,000).

TU does not make money off the NIL deals that their athletes acquire and have stated that the main reason they’re creating these partnerships is continuing to make TU a better place for student athletes. Potential athletes might see the financial support TU is trying to acquire for their current athletes as an incentive to pick this university over others.

Despite the diverse range of different organizations athletes can seek support from, a majority of the funds are still coming from the same people TU regularly asks money from– alumni and already established donors. Many former athletes already make regular donations to the athletics department and it seems improbable to predict they will increase their donations with the acquisition of new programs, especially if they continue to see their TU teams losing. Instead of creating new paths for the same people to donate money, TU should look into integrating themself further into the local companies in Tulsa to get outside funding and look for more corporate sponsorships instead of donations.

Post Author: Callie Hummel