Over 250 student-athletes attended the inaugural Georgetown Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) Summit to learn about opportunities to build their individual brand.
The Jan. 12 event was hosted by the Georgetown University Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in partnership with InvescoQQQ, a boutique investment management firm at McDonough Arena. It featured panelists including Dev Sethi, head of sports at Meta, Rebecca Hamilton, the vice dean of the McDonough School of Business and other executives from Invesco, Altius Sports Partners and INFCLR, a content platform for elite athletics. Speakers provided their unique industry perspectives on NIL to students.
Prior to 2020, the NCAA did not give student-athletes the rights to their NIL, meaning no college athlete could create or sell their own merchandise.
Lee Reed, the director of intercollegiate athletics at Georgetown, said the athletics department wanted to organize the summit to help student-athletes navigate the relatively new concept of NIL ownership by individuals.
“NIL is an exciting new element within the landscape of intercollegiate athletics, and we are proud to provide our student-athletes with both professional partnerships and educational programming to assist in their growth,” Reed wrote to The Hoya.
Organizers intended the summit to serve as a starting point for student-athletes, but actually securing NIL deals also depends on the self-initiative of student-athletes, according to Reed.
“While it is up to the individual student-athlete to put in the work to succeed in an NIL world, we strive to support their efforts, enabling them to build their personal brands for the future,” Reed said.
Preston Murray (CAS ’24), a defensive back for the football team, said the NIL summit also advised students on how to differentiate branding to attract the interests of companies and how to manage their personal finances.
“I really learned that if you find your niche, whatever it is, or find something that makes you stand out, it’s really going to help you in terms of getting a NIL deal with whatever company it is,” Murray wrote to The Hoya. “I also learned that it’s important to be smart with your money as college students, especially athletes. People are known to be a little lackadaisical. I think the advice InvescoQQQ exec told us about was really helpful and I really appreciated it.”
Dan O’Neil, Georgetown’s deputy director of athletics for external affairs, said that in the push for more NIL accessibility, the athletics department also launched the Hoya Blueprint Exchange, a portal that helps connect student-athletes with business opportunities and NIL partnerships.
“Since the name, image and likeness legislation went into effect, we have been actively working to support our student-athletes who would like to take advantage of this opportunity,” O’Neil said. “The NIL Summit was one more opportunity to get in front of our student-athletes with the resources we offer, as well as welcoming speakers who offered industry best practices.”
Max Norton (MSB ’24), an offensive lineman on the football team, said student-athletes appreciate the support from the university administration.
“To me, it just means a lot that the school cares enough to put something on like this for us,” Norton said in a Twitter video shared with The Hoya. “It’s a great opportunity to learn more about the process and learn from the speakers about the business side of their interests and how they relate to ours and how we can all work together to build this thing and build the brand at Georgetown.”
Even if a student-athlete does not consider themselves to be the biggest name on the field or does not have the largest presence on social media, they still have the opportunity to secure NIL deals, according to O’Neil.
“While some student-athletes are making large sums of money, there are many who can benefit from a local sponsorship,” O’Neil said. “When done correctly, NIL could range from thousands of dollars to a free lunch. It’s important that our student-athletes understand the full scope, the resources and the process.”