ARLINGTON, Texas — For Jeremiah Hall, monetization for players wasn’t an option or thought as a high school recruit.
Now things have changed, as the three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team selection heads into his fifth season with the Sooners, one that as of July 1 allows student-athletes to profit off their names, images and likeness for the first time after a new policy was adopted by the NCAA.
“I’ve been around for a while, so I didn’t initially come into college for the NIL,” the redshirt senior H-back said Wednesday at Big 12 Media Days. “To me it’s just like a bonus.”
Hall said he’ll see how things play out, but doesn’t have high expectations for NIL as he’s a veteran role player whose accumulated 423 receiving yards and eight touchdowns in three seasons.
But for players like redshirt sophomore quarterback Spencer Rattler — among the most-followed college football players on Instagram with over 378,000 and a preseason Heisman favorite — the implications of the new rule could result in thousands of dollars.
It’s a new season, and in some ways a new era for college sports.
“On the outside to me, it almost feels like (NIL) has a negative connotation around it,” head coach Lincoln Riley said. “I know it doesn’t with athletes but (with) everybody else it almost feels like (there’s) this dark cloud over it. And (NIL’s) not a bad thing, like this is a good thing we just have to do it the right way.”
To help educate student-athletes in the NIL age, OU’s athletic department created The Foundry, which is partnered with INFLCR, meant to help players “grow their brand while staying compliant,” according to its homepage.
However, Riley added that the process of NIL is still “blurry as hell,” and there needs to be a standard set of rules for teams to follow. Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby also addressed his discomforts with NIL, but stated schools will figure it out soon.
“Generally speaking, schools are managing it,” Bowlsby said. “There isn’t the consistency that I might have liked, but it is pressing ahead.”
Riley hopes the adoption of NIL opportunities will deter players from taking illegal payments during recruitment, and perhaps even the playing field for teams that follow rules. Without further lines and regulations in recruiting, Riley feels NIL could become messy.
“We’ve obviously seen that people are going to bend and push the rules in this game and that’s pretty clear,” Riley said.
Despite the issues presented from Riley and Bowlsby, redshirt junior linebacker Bonitto and Hall are excited for themselves and their teammates’ future with monetization on their NIL.
“It’s really exciting,” said Bonitto, the second-team AP All-American selection last season and potential first-round NFL Draft pick. “Not only for myself, but just other student-athletes across the country starting to benefit from their name, image and likeness and starting to earn money.
“I’m just happy that a lot of student-athletes that work so hard finally get to reap the benefits of their hard work."