After the National Collegiate Athletic Association changed name, image, and likeness (NIL) rules for student-athletes in July, lawyers in Florida and across the country have stepped up to let the athletes know they’re ready to help them earn money from their personal brands.

That includes Burr & Forman, a Southeastern Am Law 200 firm that on Thursday announced it had launched a ”microsite” with information and free consultations with 12 multidisciplinary sports lawyers, including former University of Alabama All-American Kermit Kendrick and Orlando-based tax and estate planning partner Scott Miller.

 

“Since a lot of what I do with my athletes is endorsement-type contracts, NIL opportunities for college athletes dovetails into that,” said Miller, a licensed NFL player agent. “I’m making sure the athlete is protected going forward, that they’re not giving away some future right to advertise in a particular space.”

The previous rules had barred student-athletes from engaging attorneys and sports agents for the purpose of promoting their personal brands, from which they also weren’t allowed to profit. States can also implement their own rules prohibiting those activities, but Florida changed its legislation to allow for NIL opportunities starting July 1.

Miller said the process is still evolving; he expects more clarity to come from schools that want to help their athletes find sponsors. Meanwhile, other schools may oppose athletes earning money from their likeness because they fear boosters will contribute to the athletes directly rather than to schools, Miller added.

“It should be a win/win for everybody,” he said. “The schools should embrace it because if the alumni are happy helping student-athletes, happy alums are probably going to donate more money.”

The website, BurrSportsLaw.com, appeals to the plight of successful but previously unpaid NCAA athletes. The opening sentence reads, “For decades everyone in college sports made money except people like you — the athlete who dreamed of winning, practiced hard, and, finally, defeated your opponents.”

Services include guiding athletes through potential contracts, including social media posting requirements, rules on political and social activism, non-compete agreements, and more.

Miller said opportunities exist for athletes beyond “revenue sports” such as football and basketball, especially those who have developed significant social media followings. For instance, Louisiana State University gymnast Olivia Dunne signed an exclusive brand partnership with activewear company Vuori earlier this week.

NCAA-oriented practices have cropped up in South Florida, too. Fort Lauderdale attorney Darren Heitner helped develop the new state NIL legislation, and Miami-based sports and entertainment lawyer Ivan Parron has an NCAA-focused NIL practice.