How has college golf changed?


It’s been a little over a year since the Names, Images and Likenesses legislation was enacted, which gave college athletes the opportunity to participate in activities, including endorsement deals, take advantage of social media to pay and receive compensation for training. , make personal appearances and sign autographs.

And the ramifications have been wide-ranging, perhaps greatest in major revenue sports like football and basketball, but also in college golf.

USA Today’s Paul Myerberg wrote extensively on the subject in an article that premiered Friday, noting that college athletics will ultimately be defined before and after the milestone. From his story:


A revolution has taken place.

What was expected to bring irreversible change to the long-standing hobbyist model has done exactly that and then some, shaking the landscape to such an extreme degree that a timeline can be separated into the two distinct eras of before and after NIL. .

With a year under our belt, let’s take a look at NIL, what worked and what didn’t, and what it means for the world of college golf.

US Women's Open 2022

Sweden’s Ingrid Lindblad watches her ball hit the sixth tee during the first round of the US Women’s Open golf tournament at the Pine Needles Lodge & Golf Club in Southern Pines, NC on Thursday, June 2, 2022 (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

What has gone wrong with NIL?

The NCAA has done little to govern the policy, giving the air of what Myerberg called “a Wild West-like atmosphere where NIL offerings have the potential to replace more traditional outlets such as recent success and facilities.” .

As the story goes, donor-driven third-party groups have filled this power vacuum to amass vast amounts of money earmarked for NIL opportunities. Existing outside the watchful eyes of university compliance departments, these collectives have drawn attention to the basic tenet that no NIL agreement can include compensation for athletic performance.

“I don’t think anyone anticipated this concept around the collectives. That’s where probably, at least among the people I’m talking to, there’s concern about how they may or may not be operating,” said Jon Steinbrecher, the commissioner of the Mid-American Conference.

Current NIL rules have also left foreign student-athletes behind in the United States on an F1 visa, which allows immigration as a full-time student but prohibits off-campus employment for all but specific situations.

That presented a peculiar situation during that year’s US Women’s Open, when Ingrid Lindblad, the world’s No. 2 amateur, was down by just one shot after the first round. While other college students such as Rose Zhang dressed in NIL-issued clothing during the event, Lindblad wore a Swedish national team polo shirt and went hatless in his opening 6-under-par 65, the lowest round by an amateur in championship history.

golf week Beth Ann Nichols explained that international student-athletes are restricted when it comes to NIL offers based on student visas. As the rules stand now, LSU coach Garrett Runion said Lindblad was not allowed to make money through NIL, though the school is doing everything it can to try to open up that possibility. International students risk losing their immigration status by accepting NIL money.

Lindblad, a nine-time winner at LSU, played alongside the greatest player of the modern era, Annika Sorenstam, who was making her first LPGA major appearance in 14 years. It’s not uncommon for players without logos to choose one overnight at a major championship when they’re in the spotlight. Lindblad didn’t get that chance, even though she was still in contention until the final round, finishing tied for 11th.

This week’s $10 million purse was the largest in women’s golf history. The winner, Minjee Lee, won $1.8 million. Had Lindblad turned pro starting that week, she could have cashed in big.

Asked if she had any regrets, the LSU senior said, “When you say it, yeah… it would have been fun to make a little money, but I think I’ll stay in college a little longer.” .”

Only one amateur won the championship, Catherine Lacoste in 1967.

Team USA members Rachel Heck, left, and Rose Zhang smile during a practice round at the 2022 Curtis Cup at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, Pa., on Wednesday, June 8, 2022. (Chris Keane/ USGA)

What went well with NIL?

While some like Lindblad have been forced into an unfortunate loophole, Myerberg says that “NIL’s biggest impact is seen in the big deals signed by female athletes in non-revenue-generating sports; More than any legislation this side of Title IX, NIL has created tremendous gender equality where none existed before.”

“What’s not really covered is the swimmer or softball player who could never monetize her NIL, never monetize herself, and for the first time she can turn a profit,” said Max Forer, attorney for Miller Nash and former Offender for Oregon. lineman.

According to the company NIL Opendorse, women’s basketball players have represented 15.7% of the total compensation paid to all athletes. Athletes in women’s sports make up five of the top nine sports in overall NIL activity, according to transaction tracking by Opendorse.

NIL has provided athletic departments with the opportunity to educate athletes on topics that were previously not addressed in the collegiate space. Athletes are learning about financial literacy, entrepreneurship and brand building, Steinbrecher said.

“Or communication skills. To learn a little about law, about contracts, about public relations, or media relations or social relations. Choose your option.”

And while female college golfers have the ability to earn money at the professional level, the extra income has helped keep some of the top talent in college.

For example, Zhang and Rachel Heck are close friends who trade titles for the Stanford women’s golf team. And the duo have something else in common besides winning: they both signed with Excel Sports Management for NIL representation.

Zhang, the world’s No. 1 amateur and Golfweek’s top college golfer, was joined by Heck, the 2021 college player of the year, who signed with Excel last fall and counts Ping and Stifel among her growing number of partnerships.

Other examples, though perhaps not as brilliant, include the announcement that John Daly II had signed a NIL deal with Hooters. At the time, the son of two-time Major champion John Daly had played only one varsity tournament. And former NBA star JR Smith signed a NIL contract with Lululemon, a popular sportswear brand. Smith became Lululemon’s first men’s golf ambassador. Smith may not use Lululemon at NCAA-sanctioned events, but he may use Lululemon in the company’s branded advertisements.

PNC Championship 2021

John Daly II and his father John Daly during the second round of the 2021 PNC Championship on Sunday, December 19, 2021, in Orlando. (AP Photo/Scott Audette)

What’s next for NIL?

It will be interesting to see, Myerberg said, how companies handle NIL deals after collecting some data. Will they continue to sponsor secondary sports like golf, or will they focus solely on soccer and men’s basketball?

Myerberg explained that the ability of female athletes to gain traction in the NIL market could lead to increased investments in women’s programs as universities see interest from third parties.

“It does indicate the potential latent there,” said Tom McMillen, president and CEO of LEAD1, an association that represents athletic directors and programs in the Football Bowl Branch. “The fact that women can enter this advertising rights market and do well is a very good sign for the future. It can only mean that women’s sports will become more popular and that women will continue to benefit from the monetization of their advertising rights. But it’s not going to happen overnight.

“What seems inevitable is that NIL reaches high school athletes and athletics.”

Already, a total of 10 states allow high school athletes to benefit from NIL. This evolution of NIL is the next big unknown in college athletics, and perhaps all fans.

“After this first year of people getting their feet wet with it, trying to understand it better, I think in the next couple of years we’ll really see what the impact is going forward,” said David Kmiecik, a senior recruiter. manager of Next College Student Athlete, which provides guidance and support to prospective athletes and their families. “It is constantly changing and constantly evolving. It will be constantly evolving.”