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IOWA CITY — Amid a last-minute scramble by the NCAA to create universality on name, image and likeness rules before July 1, the University of Iowa’s athletics department on Friday announced the program, “FLIGHT,” to educate its athletes on profiting off of their name, image and likeness.
“Our FLIGHT program equips them (student-athletes) with the tools and knowledge to build their personal brands, allowing them to be at the forefront of NIL opportunities,” Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta said in a release.
This comes on the heels of a landmark ruling in the NCAA v. Alston case, which expanded monetary educational benefits for student-athletes and less than a week before laws allowing athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness in six states will go in effect on July 1. The state of Iowa has failed to pass its own law on NIL, but the NCAA is expected to vote on proposals that will allow schools in states without laws to benefit.
The FLIGHT program is in partnership with INFLCR, a marketing company that provides elite athletes with educational training in branding, entrepreneurship, networking and finance. Through the INFLCR+ Storyteller Playbook tool, athletes will also learn fair-market strategies to monetize their personal social media profiles.
INFLCR has already helped Hawkeye athletes in accessing their images from the athletics department’s photographers.
"It's been great working with the Hawkeyes on building their student-athletes' brands, and we couldn't be more excited for the launch of FLIGHT," INFLCR CEO Jim Cavale said in a release.
"Iowa Athletics is positioning itself to be one of the most forward-thinking programs in the nation."
INFLCR+ will also allow the compliance office to track all NIL deals to ensure compliance with NCAA legislation. INFLCR+ will also help athletics staff with the software, assets and guidance to maximize their messaging to prospective athletes in the recruiting process.
Before the announcement, Iowa head football coach Kirk Ferentz said on Tuesday that preparing for a new era of athlete compensation will be an adjustment like any other, likening it to 2014, when the NCAA lifted restrictions on feeding student-athletes, paving the way for more enhanced nutrition guidance.
“We're going to be really leaning on people that do understand the ins and outs of this, you try to navigate it and do it as best you can for given your institution," Ferentz said in Tuesday’s news conference. “I think a huge challenge for everybody in life, especially college student-athletes, is time management. This is going to be one more thing to try to factor in, and I’ve got a feeling it may be a little bit more attractive than maybe a rhetoric class or Western civilization.”
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