The National Collegiate Athletic Association, more commonly known as the NCAA, is the body that governs most collegiate sports in the United States. One of the key tenets of collegiate sports as they have been historically dictated by the NCAA is that athletes cannot profit off their name, image, or likeness in any way. Doing so used to bring with it severe penalties for both individual athletes, as well as their teams or programs. However, in the 2021 Supreme Court decision of the NCAA v. Alston, the court ruled that the NCAA's limitations on educated-related benefits violated antitrust law. This has since opened the floodgates for athletes to be compensated in a number of ways for their name, image, and likeness. Keep reading below to discover just a few of the specific ways in which NIL donations are changing the future of college sports.

Emergence of Donor Collectives

High net-worth individuals have always been allowed to donate to college athletic departments in the hopes that facilities and other amenities their funds build will attract the best athletes coming out of high school. However, donor collectives have now emerged as the driving NIL-related force behind recruitment. These collectives work with athletes and local businesses to brainstorm lucrative opportunities for college athletes. The evolving nature of the relationship between donor collectives and their respective athletic programs is one that will be sure to influence the college athletic landscape at large.

Creation of College Athlete Brands

The most famous of professional athletes have traditionally earned much of their income through endorsements with high-profile brands. Increasingly, however, athletes have turned to creating their own brands. These brands sell everything from athletic apparel to sports and nutrition supplements and can be fairly lucrative. Now, college athletes are able to reap the same rewards. One of the primary effects of NIL donations, then, will be their ability to leverage college athletes' brands on the national stage in a way that simply wasn't possible before.

Changes to Overall Parity

NIL donations are an excellent way to make sure that college athletes who are creating value for a university are compensated accordingly. That said, it is likely to result in less parity, as athletic programs with the most money are able to attract a greater percentage of coveted recruits. This may in turn result in the realignment of major conferences, or in a change in NCAA Division members altogether.

Reach out to a company that handles NIL donations for college sports to learn more.