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Data: Opendorse; Note: * = incoming freshman; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The NCAA's proposed rule change that would allow student athletes to earn money off their name, image and likeness (NIL) should result in major financial opportunities, most notably on social media.

Why it matters: The emergence of this new revenue stream could alter the landscape of recruiting, with athletes potentially factoring earnings potential into their college decision.

The state of play: I spoke with Blake Lawrence, CEO of Opendorse — a social publishing platform that helps athletes build their brands — to get a better understanding of the landscape, and requested earnings estimates for a sample of 12 student athletes (see above).

  • The estimates are "based on actual data from the last decade of providing the technology behind millions of dollars of transactions between brands and professional athletes," according to Lawrence, and they fluctuate based on factors like school, social presence, and athletic success/name recognition.
  • The success/name recognition factor explains why Texas' senior QB Sam Ehlinger and Clemson's incoming freshman QB D.J. Uiagalelei have such drastically different potential earnings despite the relative similarities in position, program prestige and social presence.
  • Lawrence acknowledges that his company's expertise in the area has its limits, saying, "As we get into year one, two, three of the NIL era, the data will shift from assumptions to reality."

Between the lines: College gymnastics offers a unique wrinkle given that gymnasts tend to peak in their teens and, in some cases, achieve national or even global stardom years before they arrive on campus.

  • 2012 gold medalist Jordyn Wieber won the all-around title at the 2011 world championships and received countless offers from potential sponsors, but she was forced to decide between accepting those lucrative deals or keeping her college eligibility and not making a dime.
  • Under the proposed rule change, athletes like Wieber who are already household names in high school could ostensibly have their cake and eat it, too.

The bottom line: College students who don't play sports have complete freedom to earn money as influencers, so the new NIL rules would merely allow athletes to do the same — though there are clear risks in opening up the multi-billion dollar influencer marketing industry to amateur athletes.

Go deeper: NCAA backs allowing college athletes to be paid for names, images and likenesses

Go deeper

Aug 17, 2020 - Health

Coronavirus forces UNC to abandon in-person classes after one week

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Photo: Ted Richardson/For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill will shift to remote learning after clusters of five or more coronavirus cases spread in three residence halls and within a fraternity, just one week after class began.

The big picture: Universities determined to reopen this fall boasted preventative measures that include smaller class sizes, cleaning protocols and even testing options, but problems still persist.

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.