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Texas State athletes hope to profit off new NIL rules


Texas State junior guard Caleb Asberry (2) scans the court for an opening in the ULM defense, Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 61-57.

With the passing of Texas Senate Bill 1385, Texas college athletes can now profit off their personal name, image and likeness (NIL), a concept that’s been debated among sports commentators and fans for years.
According to senior basketball guard Caleb Asberry, institutions have had more control over an athlete’s name, image and likeness than the athlete themselves. With the passing of the bill, Asberry and other Texas State athletes can use their status to endorse products and partner with businesses for compensation, taking ownership of their personal brand.
“It’s kind of overdue,” Asberry says. “[Schools and the NCAA] get money off of us, so why couldn’t we do it a long time ago?”
Up until now, athletes have received no financial compensation for their hard work and long hours. With early mornings and late nights, senior basketball guard Mason Harrell has a demanding schedule that is different than the average college student.
“We’ll probably wake up 7:30, 8:00 for the workouts,” Harrell says. “Class, and then after class, you probably got another workout. Practice, [watch] film with the coaches … From eight in the morning to nine o’clock [at night] you’re busy doing activities with basketball, school, tutoring … We’re not able to be like a normal student and maybe go to work or have some downtime or get time to make money or have a job.”
The NIL bill’s passing may allow Harrell to earn money while maintaining his long schedule. In the 2020-21 basketball season, both Harrell and Asberry had breakout seasons, landing as the top two scorers on the team. Both players wished they were able to profit off their names and talents sooner but are now glad to have the opportunity in the months to come.
“I think I could’ve benefitted from it, beforehand,” Harrell says. “Now, it’s kind of a good thing that they made the rule this year for me. I’m looking forward to really taking advantage of it.”
Just as the bill came into effect, the Texas State Athletics Compliance Office held in-person and virtual sessions with athletes to teach the basics of the bill.
Associate Athletics Director – Compliance Kelsey Solis says Texas State has made efforts to cover financial literacy, time management, budgeting and financial aid. Additionally, the Compliance Office will add sessions such as entrepreneurship, business management and building a brand.
“We are working to create a comprehensive and ongoing education plan for all of our student-athletes and then several focused topics for those that are really interested in getting into the business world of NIL and growing their opportunities as student-athletes and even beyond when they are done playing sports,” Solis says.
Junior football wide receiver Trevis Graham Jr. echoes Harrell’s sentiment, adding that potential partnerships and endorsements directly reflect the athlete and their values.
“You don’t want to tie your name to every company that offers you,” Graham says. “You don’t know what every company is offering or what they stand for, so you just want to be smart in that regard [than] just handing over your name, image and likeness to someone … Make sure the company is the right company that represents you.”
With this new opportunity coming into form, Graham says athletes with the most name recognition will reap the most benefits, while lesser-known ones will struggle.
“It’s definitely not for everyone,” Graham says. “Not everyone is going to make a whole bunch of money off this, and not everyone is gonna be getting sponsorships and deals. But, for the people who do have a name, and a brand wants to use their name, it’s definitely good for them to be able to capitalize on that and be able to make money while they’re a hot commodity.”
Graham believes not every venture in this NIL era will be successful, but it allows himself and other athletes to try ideas immediately, without the fear of repercussions.
“Instead of ideas like I had in the past, and just [saying], ‘once I get out of college, I can do that,’ I can actually do them now and get started on it,” Graham says. “Even if things don’t kick off or don’t work out, it’s still real-world experience.”

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  • Texas State junior guards Caleb Asberry (2) and Mason Harrell (12) embrace each other and walk off the court after being named the Sun Belt Conference champions, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at Strahan Arena. The Bobcats won 58-49.

  • After scoring a touchdown, junior wide receiver Trevis Graham Jr. (14) celebrates with fellow wide receiver Julian Ortega-Jones (17), Friday, Aug. 14, 2021, at Bobcat Stadium.

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