Wittenberg announces partnership to help connect athletes with NIL opportunities

NCAA gave athletes right to profit off name, image, likeness in summer of 2021

Credit: David Jablonski

Credit: David Jablonski

The name, image, likeness era of college athletics has seen high-profile stars such as Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud and Dayton Flyers forward DaRon Holmes get keys to new vehicles in endorsement deals.

Those kind of opportunities are going to be rare on the Division III level, but that doesn’t mean athletes can’t find their own ways to capitalize on their new rights.

Wittenberg University announced last month the launch of the Tiger Up Exchange. It’s a partnership with INFLCR, which bills itself as a “leading athlete branding-building & NIL business management app empowering athletes from over 250 collegiate & pro organizations.”

“One, this is a great educational piece for our student athletes,” Wittenberg Athletic Director Brian Agler said. “They can really learn how to market themselves, which we all have to do at some time or another when we get out in the professional world. And then what we want here at the university is for us to get reconnected with the community, and this is a good way for our student athletes to reach out and have local businesses reach out to our student athletes and develop some kind of alliance and a working relationship. So there are a lot of different reasons for for this to be a good situation for Wittenberg University and the student athletes.”

Wittenberg athletes can use the INFLCR app for free. It provides a portal where businesses, collectives and individuals can communicate directly with them and also helps Wittenberg administrators manage NIL reporting with the NCAA.

More than 3,500 teams and 7,000 athletes across college sports have used the app. Wittenberg is one of the first D-III schools to partner with the company.

“We’re excited to help Wittenerg provide their student-athletes and local support with the technology to make NIL easier while staying compliant,” said INFLCR Founder and President Jim Cavale in a press release. “Wittenberg will remain a leader in the D-III space with this INFLCR powered platform.”

Wittenberg took this step after several “significant alumni,” as Agler described them, expressed interest in working with athletes. He said there were six to eight situations last year in which athletes earned NIL opportunities.

Often it’s as simple as a business asking an athlete to endorse a company or product on Twitter or Instagram. Agler expects businesses to build collectives of athletes in which, for example, they pay a number of different athletes to share the same advertisement on social media.

At this point, Wittenberg’s use of the app is still in the early stages. The athletes are still learning how to use it.

“The next stage will then be to connect with the Chamber of Commerce here in Springfield and the alumni and have them also be a presence on the INFLCR app,” Agler said, “and then it becomes an exchange after that. They exchange information, and potential deals can happen and and partnerships can develop between our student athletes and a company or individual. That’s where it falls into our lap, and we look at it from a compliance standpoint.”

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