Under new law, college athletes can start cashing in on their fame
BATON ROUGE - The game is changing for college athletics, and it won't be seen on the field or on the court.
The new play will make its debut in a flurry of social media posts and other advertisements and endorsements.
"These kids for the first time ever have the opportunity to sell their brand and to sell themselves and to be spokespersons for companies," publicist Lionel Rainey III said.
Rainey has represented many professional athletes through his firm, LR3 Public Relations.
He says the opportunities to cash in on their social media popularity are endless.
"The people who have big social media followings and who are star athletes on a national scale will have opportunities abound to make a significant amount of money."
Thursday, Governor John Bel Edwards signed off on a bill that allows student-athletes to make money off their name, image, and likeness. It sets the stage for athletes to profit before going pro, and some have built major fan bases which can be monetized.
But, that isn't the case for everyone.
"For these other student-athletes, they're going to have to work to find their niche. But, they're not going to get paid in the same way a star athlete's getting paid," Rainey said.
This is all new territory for many athletes and universities. Rainey says financial literacy is a big concern.
"Hopefully the universities will put someone in place to help with the finances as well. Deservedly so, but some of these kids are going to be coming in making an enormous amount of money which is all going to be taxable income," Rainey said.
It's a game-changer for athletes who are ready to take charge of there personal brand.
Gymnast Olivia Dunne has scored about 5 million followers on her social media platforms combined. Analysts say it's likely she'll bring in more cash than any other college athlete right now.
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