Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) has been a hot-button topic this summer with college athletes now able to profit off of their personal brands. However, a prominent member of the Michigan Wolverines is not all the way impressed with the rollout so far.
Sophomore center Hunter Dickinson, who returned to Michigan due at least in part to NIL, spoke to former Wolverine Stu Douglas on the “Go Blue With Stu” show last week and addressed how the university has handled NIL so far.
“We talk about that kind of stuff, seeing what we can and can’t do,” Dickinson said, referring to him, Eli Brooks, Jace Howard and Adrien Nuñez as the team’s more involved athletes when it comes to NIL. “Michigan’s not the (freest) of the universities, they’re kind of being a little restrictive of what we can and can’t do. We can’t use the Block ‘M’ for some reason. You’d think if you play for the university and make money for them, they would at least let you use their logo and stuff. But they’re being hard right now, they’re trying to be like the NCAA and hold us back a little bit.
“But at least they’re letting us do something, letting us make a little money off of our likeness and image. I’m just happy these rules were changed while I was in college so I’m able to benefit from it.”
A lot of schools are still holding out against letting athletes use the logos and trademarks of the universities, so Michigan is not alone here. North Carolina is the biggest thus far to allow the use of logos for NIL purposes, so the fears that it could become a bit of a recruiting pitch against them seem warranted.
“I think eventually they’re gonna have to relinquish it because so many other universities are allowing college athletes to use the logo,” Dickinson said. “So I think it’s just a matter of time, just like the NCAA it was just a matter of time before they let players make money off of their image and likeness. Eventually, they’ll have to give up, but right now they’re playing a little bit of hardball, so I’ll let them have their little moment.”
Michigan’s policy also requires that athletes submit their NIL opportunities to the compliance department to ensure that all protocols are followed.
Athletes must “include a description of the activity, the parties involved, the value and nature of any compensation provided, and a copy of any proposed written agreement pertaining to the activity”
Dickinson described this process as “pointless.”
“I don’t really care what they have to say, but you gotta send the email and make sure you’re in compliance,” Dickinson said. “That’s what you gotta do for Michigan, I guess. You’ve gotta send an email to compliance, and they’ll email you back if it’s against the NCAA rules or Michigan rules.”
Dickinson’s dip into NIL so far includes the “Big Dickinson Energy” line of apparel hosted by The Players Trunk.
This isn’t the first we have heard of frustrations of how Michigan has handled NIL so far. Given the brand power of the university, the donor base it has and how well-renowned the Ross School of Business is, all of the ingredients are seemingly there for the Wolverines to be a leader as the next wave of college sports kicks into high gear. Things are moving slow and it is still a work in progress.
Everyone is scrambling across the country until there is some sort of national legislation that covers everything. As things tend to do in Congress, that progress has moved slowly as well. We will have to wait and see what happens, but Michigan is still getting its ducks in a row here.