Recruiting Declassified

Recruiting Declassified: NIL and How It Changed Recruiting Strategy

Be good, get an offer, compete for a team, major in something, retire from the sport, make money. It’s the cycle of college gymnastics—or at least the old one. Now the money-making has moved up a bit, and it’s not student-athlete. Now it’s student-athlete-entrepreneur. For the top 1% of college gymnasts, like Olivia Dunne and Sunisa Lee, NIL is a major way to capitalize early and build a foundation for later business deals and marketing. For those up-and-coming who haven’t made their way to college, it’s inspiration and hope for the future. 

NIL has been a hot topic of conversation for good reason, but what does it really mean for recruiting?

Utah Gymnastics signed a team-wide deal with a local pharmacy with a payout of around $4,000 for each athlete. Alabama joins the list with a deal from the fan-based platform, CrowdPush, which encompassed the entire team and noted the goal of paying $20,000 to each athlete at the beginning of the season. And, Michigan State clinched a deal with Charitable Gift America, signing the whole team as well. 

Of course, seeing the full team deals provides a lot of hope and confirmation for prospects with the near-guarantee of an NIL deal when they get to college. If these deals last, they’ll receive a consistent payout throughout their career. As a recruit, NIL potential with teams is a major question as I go through my recruiting journey. NIL not only reflects the person but also the school they go to. There’s a reason why top 10 schools have more gymnasts with NIL deals than lower-tiered programs. Popular school correlates to popular athletes. This concept is important when weighing the NIL potential at a school.

Of course, there’s more to the recruit pros and cons list than NIL, but it is a factor that has repurcussions long past a college career. Not only will the money give you a push into the future, but the experience gained from marketing, creating business ideas, and networking lasts a lifetime. 

There’s more to NIL than meets the eye…and the bank account. As a setup for the future and the weight of a school’s popularity on your potential, recruiting strategy and decisions became even harder.

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Article by Sydney Seabrooks

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