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A closer look at Clemson’s new NIL program

Clemson Athletics, Provided

Photo rendering of the Clemson Athletics Branding Institute.

On April 8, 2022, Clemson Athletics announced a new program dedicated to helping educate and provide opportunities for student-athletes regarding name, image and likeness (NIL) deals; the program is called Reign.
The initiative comes after the NCAA allowed student-athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness back in July of 2021.
“Reign represents a packaging of a lot of the different programming that we are already doing with our student-athletes as it relates to name, image, and likeness,” Clemson Athletics spokesperson Jeff Kallin said in an interview with The Tiger.
The athletic department looks to grow Reign with the help of a facility being built specifically for its cause. The facility will be one of the first of its kind to be branded for the sole purpose of NIL and to give it its own space.
“The 12,000 square foot facility will be built to help from a branding standpoint as something that will be a great resource for student-athletes,” Kallin said. 

Reign will focus on two main groups: prospective student-athletes and current student-athletes. The focus on current student-athletes is to help them reach their full potential while at Clemson.
Kallin said looking ahead, the primary concern will be “continuing to try and figure out what is on the pulse of what is permissible.”
Other states have laws that allow them to regulate NIL deals differently, but in South Carolina, being hands- on with athletes in concerns of paid sponsorships is illegal.
According to Kallin, the purpose of Reign would be to “help provide education and resources to help [athletes] understand what they can and cannot do by rules of the NCAA and the laws of South Carolina”
Schools such as Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia have all followed suit in creating management programs concerning NIL deals for their student-athletes.
“One of the things we are looking at right now is the state of South Carolina and whether it considers to repeal the law that it has put into place and when that would go into effect and how we would be able to support it if that does happen,” Kallin said.

Another factor being monitored is whether the NIL rules could change in the future on a national level. Because some schools have access to less strict state laws giving them more power in the NIL field, schools like Clemson are finding ways to adapt and keep up through initiatives like Reign.
“Reign is going to evolve and change as the rules of the NCAA do,” Kallin said.
The end goal of Reign is for Clemson’s student-athletes to understand and adapt to new NIL rules because many athletes will not extend their careers to the professional level.

Clemson is also rebranding its creative group to further educate athletes on profiting from NIL.
With the announcement of Reign, Clemson is hopeful to help push and guide athletes to reach their full potential with NIL deals.
As for the future of Reign and NIL rules and restrictions, the athletic department will continue to monitor for any new changes that could force Reign to adapt. 
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