Name, Image & Likeness at WKU: An 18-Month Recap

Published: Jan. 6, 2023 at 3:19 PM CST
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - On July 1, 2021, the NCAA approved student-athletes receiving compensation for the use of their name, image or likeness (NIL) for commercial activities.

In the last 18 months, WKU student-athletes have had incredible success in the realm of NIL, and that success is only expected to grow. With anything from free sessions at a local recovery studio to an apparel line to social media promotion of businesses, WKU student-athletes have done it all.

WKU Athletics & INFLCR

WKU Athletics’ success in the NIL landscape was primarily in part to being ahead of the curve. Upon NIL approval in July 2021, WKU immediately partnered with INFLCR, the leader in the brand-building industry and a pioneer in the NIL landscape.

WKU further enhanced its position in the landscape, creating a comprehensive program designed to help student-athletes grow and capitalize on their brands: CLIMB.

INFLCR’s mobile app provides student-athletes with real-time content from WKU’s communication and content creation teams as well as the ability to personally track their own social media following and engagement growth.

The app also provides various education courses to WKU student-athletes that highlighted financial literacy, brand strategy, business practices, compliance and more.

Along with content and education, the app serves a one-stop shop to all WKU student-athletes to report and track all of the NIL business and transactions.

Hilltopper Local Exchange

A second piece of WKU’s NIL plan was launched in April of 2022 with the Hilltopper Local Exchange. One of the first of its kind amongst collegiate athletic departments, the local exchange provided an avenue for businesses, and now individuals, to directly communicate with any WKU student-athlete.

Businesses and student-athletes are able to message each other privately and negotiate deals all within the app. Once an agreement is reached, a business or individual can propose the transaction, including details and documents, and pay a student-athlete using the app’s third-party provider, Stripe.

Transactions within the exchange are the preferred method for NIL deals as all documents and tax paperwork are all accumulated into one document for both the student-athlete and the business.

By The Numbers

334 transactions have been reported by 179 student-athletes

$273,746.25 has been reported – $145,666.14 in cash and $128,080.11 in product/equity

$819.60 – The average transaction value for a WKU student-athlete

157,398 pieces of content have been uploaded by WKU communications and creative staff

WKU’s NIL success is not just limited to one sport. Every sport with at least one student-athlete eligible to participate in NIL activities has completed at least one deal.

The spread across WKU Athletics is quite even with 11.91% of transactions disclosed completed by Hilltopper Football, 11.35% completed by Lady Topper Basketball, 11.47% completed by Lady Topper Soccer, 10.18% completed by Hilltopper Basketball and 9.68% completed by Hilltopper Volleyball.

How to Help

The realm of Name, Image and Likeness is only going to grow within the college athletics landscape. There are a variety of ways to contribute to the success of WKU student-athletes and WKU’s athletic programs as a whole.

Sign up for Hilltopper Local Exchange: wkusports.com/localexchange

Contribute to the Red Towel Trust Collective: redtoweltrust.com