The NCAA's recent decision allowing college athletes to profit off their names, images and likenesses (NIL) is opening up a new world of opportunities — and experimentation — for local businesses.
- Just ask Raygun owner Mike Draper, who's back to selling his "Best Kempt Secret" T-shirts — which were quickly discontinued in 2017 after the clothing company found out they could violate NIL rules and jeopardize then-Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt's eligibility.
Driving the news: As of last week, all NCAA athletes can sign endorsement deals and make money off their fame in various other ways that they weren't permitted to do so before.
Zoom in: Draper, who owns stores in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids and several other Midwest cities, said he's in talks with a number of college athletes, as many navigate signing their first-ever merchandise deals.
- Now is the "fun time" for local businesses to enter deals with athletes because the market is open with little competition from major brands like Nike or Adidas, Draper said.
- He doesn't expect it to be a big line of revenue, but said it offers "more material" to work with.
Athletes are already cashing in through some unique avenues.
- Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy recently signed a deal with Cameo. Now dad can get a personal message from him for $40.
- And Hawkeye basketball star Jordan Bohannon was hired by a fireworks company to sign autographs in Windsor Heights last week.
What's next: Raygun is planning on rolling out some fun shirts with household names over the next few years, before NIL's get "corporate," Draper said.
- And expect to see college athletes profit off everything from signed jerseys to NFT's.
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