Jonathon Moberly, dean of the Robert W. Plaster School of Business

*Editor’s Note: CC Biz Buzz is a monthly column series that features insightful commentary from a member of the Columbia College Robert W. Plaster School of Business faculty.

In the September edition of Biz Buzz, we examined four NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) programs with first-time head coaches (CEOs) in the 2023 season and the impact of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) on their ability to build team culture and success on the field: Kenny Dillingham at Arizona State, Biff Poggi at Charlotte, Trent Dilfer at UAB and Ryan Walters at Purdue.

As a review, the company On3 is at the center of NIL market and athlete valuation, utilizing an algorithm comprised of the following components to develop an estimated NIL valuation for a player:

1) “Brand Value” (based on licensing and sponsorship opportunities that are not generated necessarily by the NIL collective connected to that athlete’s institution, but rather where an organization contacts the athlete directly)

2) “Roster Value” (based on a player’s performance during the season compared to other players at the position, strength of influence on social media, and exposure received via media attention and size of fan base)

Arizona State now has three players with NIL valuations above $100,000 compared to only one player in that range several months ago: Jaden Rashada (quarterback; $414,000 valuation), Sam Leavitt (transfer quarterback from Michigan State; $238,000 valuation) and Cameron Skattebo (running back; $104,000 valuation). Rashada’s value increased slightly since the beginning of the season due to being named the starting quarterback as a freshman where he played in three games (missed eight games due to injury) combined with securing a deal outside of the Sun Angel Collective in October with Halo Non-Invasive Veneers. Interestingly, Leavitt’s valuation has increased 318% since Jan. 10, when he arrived on campus after transferring from Michigan State. While there are no NIL deals reported for Leavitt through on3, he did play in four games for Michigan State as a freshman. Skattebo’s valuation also had a massive increase of 261% in that same time period partially due to the fact that this was his first season playing at the FBS level and he had several games rushing for over 100 yards against ranked opponents, including 111 yards against No. 5 USC. Chad Johnson Jr., a wide receiver and the son of former All-Pro NFL wide receiver Chad “OchoCinco” Johnson, has the fourth-highest NIL valuation for ASU at $66,000.

At Charlotte, tight end Colin Weber recently became the first member of the football program with an NIL valuation with a figure of $68,000 after a 362-yard receiving season that put him in the top 40 of all tight ends across the FBS level. No other athletes at Charlotte are listed to have procured NIL deals. The Goldmine Alliance, Charlotte’s NIL collective, was founded in May 2023.

UAB experienced a milestone in September 2023 with the founding of an NIL collective called Magic City Impact. UAB does not yet have an athlete, particularly in football, with an NIL valuation according to On3.

Prior to the start of the 2023 season, Purdue’s NIL collective, the Boilermaker Alliance, had been in existence for only 13 months, and there was only one player on its football roster with an NIL valuation. That was Hudson Card, a new transfer quarterback, with a $73,000 valuation. Since the end of the season, there are now eight players on Purdue’s roster with NIL valuations above $70,000, including Kydran Jenkins ($442,000) after being named to the Defense Honorable Mention All-Big Ten team as a linebacker with 56 tackles; Gus Hartwig ($189,000) after receiving his first NIL engagement with the Boilermaker Alliance; and Dillan Thieneman ($176,000) after receiving the Big Ten Freshman of the Year Award. Nic Scourton, a 12-game starter for Purdue in 2023 who was named Second-Team All-Big Ten as a linebacker, transferred to Texas A&M on Jan. 4 and had a 164% increase in his NIL valuation ($262,000 growth) since making that announcement.

Beyond the four programs we have examined, there have been significant changes in the NIL arena over the past several months. On Jan. 11, the NCAA announced the first sanctions against a team since NIL was introduced three years ago. An assistant football coach at Florida State allegedly drove a recruit and his family to a meeting with the leader of Rising Spear, Florida State’s NIL collective. The alleged purpose of the meeting was to induce the recruit and his family with a certain amount of money from Rising Spear each month while he was enrolled.

In addition to the first NCAA sanctions, the U.S. House Subcommittee on Innovation, Data and Commerce held a hearing on Jan. 18 where it discussed the draft of a bill that would articulate student-athletes’ NIL rights in addition to banning monetary inducements to recruits through NIL deals by third parties.

While NIL has been compared to the “Wild, Wild West” since its inception, particularly this past year, it’s a relief to see that there is going to be federal regulation in the near future as well as enforcement by the NCAA. This will still allow the opportunity for student-athletes to earn money while they are in college, but also hopefully take NIL out of the equation for recruiting purposes.

Jonathon Moberly, J.D., is the dean of the Columbia College Robert W. Plaster School of Business. Moberly has more than 16 years of experience in higher education after working for five years in the sports business industry representing professional athletes.