MILWAUKEE — Thursday marked a big day as college athletes are now able to profit off their name, image and likeness, just like the pros.
You heard the names. You’ve watched their historic moments. However, stars like former Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor, who drew tens of thousands to Camp Randall Stadium, made nil, for his N.I.L., or Name, Image and Likeness.
“You hear about past players, talking about things should change, things should change and they're fighting and pressing for it,” Taylor told TMJ4 News during a one-on-one interview.
Thursday marked a career day in other ways for today's college athlete. Each and every one are now able to profit off of their own brand through third-party deals.
Taylor said it means so much more.
“The thing about it is, it's not so much about profiting off your name and likeness, it's having that ownership because, this is me. I am that person so I should be able to do with it what I please,” he said.
Some are already taking advantage.
Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz has already partnered with apparel company 500 Level for merch sales.
T-shirts go for $30 each.
"It will just be interesting to see what the valuation of some of the NIL rights deals are going to be,” said Matthew Mitten, Marquette University professor and Executive Director of The National Sports Law Institute.
Mitten said a lot of factors will come into play when it comes to earning potential for N.I.L. rights deals.
"It's going to depend on the particular sport, the athlete his or her self, their social media presence, number of followers on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and social media,” Mitten said.
On Wisconsin's biggest stages, schools like UW-Madison and Marquette also see another way for student athletes to learn as entrepreneurs.
"Yes, this is a way for them to benefit financially, and no question that's a good thing, but yes. There's an educational component to this too,” said Justin Doherty, Senior Associate Athletic Director at UW-Madison.
"I think from an educational standpoint, it's going to be a massive learning opportunity,” said Bill Scholl, Director of Athletics at Marquette University.