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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.

Updated 52 mins ago - Health

U.K. first nation to clear Pfizer coronavirus vaccine for mass rollout

A health care worker during the phase 3 COVID-19 vaccine trial by the Pfizer and BioNTech in Ankara, Turkey, in October. Photo: Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United Kingdom's government announced Wednesday it's approved Pfizer-BioNTech's COVID-19 vaccine, which "will be made available across the U.K. from next week."

Why it matters: The U.K. has beaten the U.S. to become the first Western country to give emergency approval for a vaccine that's found to be 95% effective with no serious side effects against a virus that's killed nearly 1.5 million people globally.

3 hours ago - World

NYT: Biden won't immediately remove U.S. tariffs on China

President-elect Joe Biden during an event in Wilmington, Delaware, on Tuesday. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's 25% tariffs imposed on China under the phase one trade deal will remain in place at the start of the new administration, President-elect Biden said in an interview with the New York Times published early Wednesday.

Details: "I'm not going to make any immediate moves, and the same applies to the tariffs," Biden said. He plans to conduct a full review of the current U.S. policy on China and speak with key allies in Asia and Europe to "develop a coherent strategy," he said.