In the world of digital media, it’s no surprise to see some of the biggest stars of our favorite sports represented online in many different ways, and NCAA stars are no different as some of the youngsters have turned to the successes of some platforms like YouTube and TikTok to promote themselves further. But it wasn’t always this way, so has social media changed the opportunity for these players?
Athletes have certainly become much more than just a player on a team as they themselves have become a unique brand, just look at Michael Jordan and his impact on sneakers for example. But for football players, and particularly those in college, it wasn’t always possible to represent your own brand as fans of football may be all too aware of stories like that of YouTube star “Deestroying.” Donald De Le Haye gained a lot of attention a few years ago after facing an ultimatum – delete his YouTube channel or lose his position on an NCAA team as the NCAA forbids athletes from profiting from their athletic ability. Ultimately following his YouTube career and now sitting at over 3 million subscribers and may have inspired others to follow too.
Many big industries are seeing changes in regulation, those looking to place a wager for NCAA games online for example may be able to soon enough as different states have started adjusting regulation as Colorado online gambling can already be found for example, and regulation might change for the NCAA too. California Bill 206, also known as the Fair Pay to Play Act, is scheduled to be put in place at the beginning of 2023 and will allow student-athletes in the state to profit from activities related to their athletic ability, with the notable choices coming from YouTube and TikTok in particular. It may allow college stars to build their name and show off their talents long before potential drafts in the future for the likes of the NFL.
There are many college players that have already suggested that if there were no guidelines or regulations preventing them from monetizing their position, then they certainly would start – it is somewhat understandable for some that the NCAA keeps the ruling in place, but with how popular these social media platforms have become and how impactful they are particularly on the younger audience, preventing the players from being able to market themselves and their own brand early on may say more about the hoped control over the players rather than the freedom of allowing players to prepare for the marketing that comes later, and given the amount of work that is required to maintain a popular channel such as this too, those that are willing to invest the time should certainly have the freedom to do so.