Adidas creates NIL network for college athletes – WWD

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As millions of college athletes compete to capitalize on their undergraduate pursuits, Adidas has created a name and image likeness network for more than 50,000 student-athletes.

In doing so, the company is one of the first among major sportswear brands to offer a welcome mat for enterprising college athletes.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association enacted NIL rules in July, allowing student-athletes to sign sponsorship deals and partnerships. This paved the way for Division 1, 2 and 3 athletes to be compensated for their NIL, whether or not their state has a NIL law in place.

Student-athletes from every Adidas NCAA Division 1 university can participate in the brand’s new network. The more than 50,000 eligible athletes span 23 sports and 109 schools. The program will roll out in four phases over the next year, with historically black colleges and universities and Power-5 conference partners being the first to qualify starting this fall.

Adidas North America President Rupert Campbell said in a statement that as the network moves forward, the company is committed to building inclusivity in sport and inspiring athletes to achieve a fairer world.

The program is part of Adidas’ “Impossible Is Nothing” campaign, which highlights the company’s efforts to make sport more inclusive and equitable. Revealing the news on Wednesday, the brand cited this summer’s 50th anniversary of Title IX, which prohibits federally funded education programs from discriminating on the basis of gender. The legislation revolutionized sports programs for women and girls and led to greater equality of opportunity in sport. As a nod to Adidas’ efforts, the women’s and men’s teams supported by the brand will wear “More Is Possible” t-shirts during the ongoing March Madness basketball tournament.

WNBA player Candace Parker helps deceive the Adidas initiative through her new documentary “Title IX: 37 Words That Changed America,” which Adidas has partnered on. It will air on TBS on April 2.

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