Prediction: $50,000 minimum pay for Power 5 players
Football and men’s basketball players on scholarship in one of the major conferences can expect to soon earn a minimum of $50,000 each year he plays because of the influx of cash from so-called booster collectives brokering name, image and likeness deals.
That prediction, based on market trends, was made this week by Blake Lawrence, co-founder and CEO of a company that helps athletes and schools navigate the ever-changing NIL landscape.
The increasing dollar amounts available to college athletes through the recent formation of collectives has drawn the attention of the NCAA, which this week released guidance for schools in the hopes of maintaining the original intent of NIL compensation.
College sports leaders are concerned some collectives have gone beyond paying athletes for activities such as endorsements and appearances and breaking the pay-for-play ban by offering cash to influence athletes’ decisions on where to go to school. NCAA rules prohibit boosters from making contact with prospective recruits.
Lawrence co-founded Opendorse in 2012 to facilitate endorsement deals for professional athletes. The former Nebraska football player was among the advisers who worked with the NCAA on forming NIL policy, and he expanded his company to bring opportunities to college athletes to cash in on their fame and developed compliance technology that allows schools to keep track of the deals.
Lawrence based his $50,000-a-year per player minimum on the assumption booster collectives are directing about $5 million annually into NIL pools and that some of the money will go to athletes in other sports. There are collectives supporting NIL at more than half of the 65 Power Five schools, including Notre Dame, and more are forming.