Arashma Parks, a redshirt-sophomore forward on the Temple University men’s basketball team, decided to utilize his social media fanbase in October, when he announced his partnership with Morroni Custom, a clothing company, as a brand ambassador.
Temple Athletics has operated Name, Image and Likeness at Temple by using outside vendors to educate athletes and staff alike about creating their own brand, as well as helping oversee the NIL deals by keeping track of each student-athletes involvement. Temple is utilizing a three-pronged approach to NIL beginning this past summer: regulation, education and support from the marketing company Influencer, said Temple University Deputy Director of Athletics Craig Angelos.
On June 30, 2021, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf signed Senate Bill 381 into law, allowing college athletes in Pennsylvania to receive compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness. The bill had been in the works for more than a decade and sets the foundation for the future college athletic economy in Pennsylvania.
Temple made an agreement with Influencer, a marketing company, to help plan NIL’s future at Temple, and hired Vaughan Moss, the new assistant athletic director of Digital Media and Branding, to help educate players and staff about the complexities of NIL, Angelos said.
Moss is working with Senior Associate Athletic Director Justin Miller and Faculty Athletics Representative Jeremy Jordan to educate and inform student-athletes.
NIL has led to entire NCAA departments revamping their staffs, altering business plans and renovating their efforts in an attempt to provide present and future student-athletes with the best possible money-making resources, Sports Illustrated reported.
“As an athlete you have very little time to get jobs or get money to provide for yourself,” Parks said. “I feel like NIL’s are a great way to start.”
Parks’ deal came to fruition when Daniel Morroni, founder of Morroni Custom, reached out to Parks in October. This was followed by an Instagram direct message from an EMG Sports agent who was a friend of Morroni’s. The groups met to discuss terms, and Morroni thought Parks would be a fashionable guy to represent the brand, Parks said.
“They sent a contract, and I had to look it over with my family,” Parks said. “Then, I had to send it through compliance, and they had to look it over as well. You have to wait seven days for compliance to clear it.”
Temple basketball has always been the most popular market in Temple sports. This season is no different, with Temple basketball players generally amassing the largest following across Instagram than other athletes.
For example, Temple basketball junior center Jake Forrester has 25,500 followers and sophomore guard Khalif Battle has 16,100 followers, and both are verified users as well. Meanwhile, Temple football redshirt-freshman quarterback D’Wan Mathis has amassed only 7,800 followers.
Temple is hoping players can utilize their personal followings to achieve greater deals over time, with an understanding that while every athlete has the opportunity, some sports get greater recognition than others, Angelos said.
Kristy Bannon Sromovsky, Temple’s senior associate athletic director for Compliance and Student-Athlete Affairs, handles rules and regulations with conferences and the NCAA, and she has been integral in introducing NIL to Temple through her continuous contact with teams and staff, Angelos said.
Student-athletes work directly with Sromovsky to learn about potential NIL deals and report to her once they make deals of their own, Angelos added.
A weekly group made up of the staff in Sromovsky’s department, Miller, Jordan and members of the Temple video and creative social media teams meet to discuss NIL-related plans, Sromovsky said. They need people to help with each level of the NIL process, from recruiting to branding to marketing.
Sromovsky and her team cannot reveal the process through which they overviewed Parks’ deal, but their process of comparing the contracts to Pennsylvania state law is to ensure they are in line with regulations om athlete endorsement deals.
Another tool Temple is utilizing is Team Altemus, an advising company that has become experts on NIL and how it can be applied to colleges, Angelos said.
“Everything we can do under the legislation we’re doing,” Angelos said. “We’re trying to give them full opportunities to take advantage of those initiatives if they can access them.”
Each state has different versions of the law, making some states stricter than others in terms of access and opportunity.
Pennsylvania does not allow athletic departments to facilitate deals for their athletes. It also requires athletes to disclose their deals to the universities they attend. Variations to the law are the reason schools in Utah are reaching corporate-licensing deals that are program-wide rather than made with specific athletes and schools in select states, like Illinois, have market caps restricting the amount of money athletes can make from NIL.
College athletes across the nation are signing mega-deals with corporations, like University of Alabama sophomore quarterback Bryce Young, who signed a deal with Cash App in July. Temple, meanwhile, is hoping its approach will allow for student-athletes to utilize their location in Philadelphia and branding tools to make the most out of their name, image and likeness.
“Even if I’m not making money, I feel like promoting and stuff like this gives me experience,” Park said, an advertising major. “Experience that I can take into the real world.”