As of July 1, USD athletes have been eligible to benefit from their name, image and likeness (NIL) after an NCAA ruling passed legislation allowing student athletes to do so.
The new NCAA rules allow athletes to make money from their NIL through sponsorships and other media. For states that have legislation around NIL, schools will follow those rules, but for states without NIL rules like South Dakota, USD will create its own rules in accordance with the NCAA guidelines.
The first athlete in South Dakota to receive a NIL deal was Brooklyn Bollweg. Bollweg, a junior defensive specialist on the USD volleyball team, has a sponsorship deal with Silverstar Car Wash in Sioux Falls.
Silverstar reached out to Bollweg on July 3, and within an hour they had a contract drafted and sent to both Bollweg and senior associate athletic director Jamie Oyen, who handles the NIL deals.
In being the first in the state to get a NIL deal, Bollweg had to be careful in making sure she would be in compliance with the NIL rules USD put in place.
“There were no processes in place for me to submit paperwork, so I actually ended up having to call (Oyen) and send her the contract over email so she could kind of check everything and make sure I wasn’t going to be violating any rules that were in place,” Bollweg said.
To keep track of the deals that athletes receive, USD has started using Compass NIL for all NIL disclosures, education and monitoring, Oyen said.
Oyen said the NIL deals are not a recruiting incentive and that NCAA Extra Benefit Rules still apply to the student athletes with NIL deals.
Bollweg said she’s seen many opportunities offered to student athletes at both USD and across the country due to the NCAA’s ruling.
“I think there are a lot more opportunities for athletes who are in the media a lot, in power five conferences, the kind of people that you see in the news everyday,” Bollweg said. “I also think that there are a lot of opportunities for student athletes, like athletes at the University of South Dakota.”
Bollweg is happy to have her own sponsorship and get her own name out there.
“It’s a really cool opportunity to get your name out there, and use your position as a student athlete to kind of advocate for yourself and create your own business,” Bollweg said.
Although Bollweg enjoys her sponsorship, she also exercises caution in who she chooses to work with.
“I think that you just need to be very careful about who you associate with and who you pick to do sponsorship deals with, because their brand becomes part of your own personal brand,” Bollweg said. “So I could see if someone wasn’t careful in reading their contracts, doing research on who they’re partnering with, it definitely could be detrimental.”
In Bollweg’s case, an outside company reached out to her for a sponsorship, but she also believes athletes should reach out to possible sponsors on their own.
“I think that from experiences with our teammates, and hearing stories from them, I think the best way is to reach out to brands you’re interested in and see if they’re open to some sort of deal,” Bollweg said. “Just put yourself out there because the worst they can do is say no.”