Why Is It Important for Student Athletes to Protect Their Likeness?

student athlete

Thanks to recent policy changes instituted on July 1, 2021, student-athletes now have the opportunity to generate considerable income from lucrative name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals. While this shift has had a significant impact on the financial future of student-athletes and their families, it also exposes them to a complex legal landscape that can be overwhelming and confusing, particularly when they are juggling their athletic responsibilities, coursework, and other social and academic commitments.

If you are a student-athlete and you want to protect your name, image, and likeness rights, a skilled and knowledgeable NIL lawyer can guide you through the necessary steps to ensure that your intellectual property is protected, including setting up an effective trademark strategy.

Why Should I Protect My Likeness?

While college athletes now have a wide range of opportunities to license their likeness, there are legal and financial challenges associated with NIL deals. As such, it is vital that you take steps to protect your intellectual property, including trademarks. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), a trademark is “any word, symbol, design, or a combination of these things that identifies your goods or services.” Once you have a registered NIL trademark, you have greater control over the opportunities that are available to you, including brand deals, paid appearances at events, autograph signings, and the opportunity to offer paid coaching sessions, among many other opportunities. An experienced NIL lawyer can walk you through this process and thoroughly address all of your questions and concerns.

How Can My Likeness Be Used?

There are a wide range of NIL-related money-making opportunities that student-athletes can take advantage of, including:

  • Attaching their name: You can use your NIL to promote your own company, a sports or coaching camp, and monetized social media channels.
  • Endorsements and sponsorships: You can earn money by promoting a company’s product or service, either in person, in a commercial, or on social media.
  • Public appearances: This includes paid autograph sessions and meet-and-greets.
  • Royalties: Get paid any time your NIL is used.

What Could Happen If I Do Not Protect My Likeness?

One of the most common concerns associated with the new NIL policy is the possibility that student athletes could be taken advantage of or miss out on opportunities if the necessary steps were not taken to protect the athlete’s likeness. If you do not have legal representation on your side who will protect your interests and your legal rights, companies could take advantage of the fact that you are a college student without the legal and business experience necessary to negotiate complex NIL deals.   

How Can an NIL Lawyer Help Me?

An experienced and knowledgeable NIL lawyer can provide the skilled legal counsel that you need to ensure that your intellectual property rights are protected and that you understand the terms of your contract. The following are examples of how an NIL lawyer can assist you:

  • Drafting and revising licensing agreements.
  • Ensuring that you remain compliant with school and/or state policies.
  • Identify the most lucrative NIL opportunities that also reflect your interests and values.
  • Negotiating NIL agreements.

NIL Lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. Protect the Legal Rights of Student Athletes

If you are a college athlete, and you want to take the necessary steps to protect your name, image, and likeness, contact the NIL lawyers at Lyons & Associates, P.C. at your earliest convenience. We will help you take full advantage of the lucrative opportunities that are now available, and ensure that your brand is protected throughout your college career and beyond. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 908-575-9777 or contact us online. Our offices are in Morristown, Somerville, and Freehold, New Jersey, and we proudly serve clients across the entire United States through partnerships with co-counsel in other jurisdictions.

Posted in NIL