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NCCU launches new program to help student athletes benefit financially

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North Carolina Central University
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Courtesy North Carolina Central University
North Carolina Central University football players stream onto the field.

North Carolina Central University has become the first historically black university in the nation to offer group licensing for their student athletes, say NCCU athletic officials. The university partnered with brand marketing firm The Brandr Group to launch the licensing program.

Group licensing allows college athletes to make money off their name, image and likeness also known as NIL.

NCCU’s Deputy Athletics Director for External Affairs Kyle Serba says group licensing relates to three or more athletes in a specific sport, or six or more athletes in multiple sports.

“What that does is it allows them to utilize their name, image or likeness [NIL], in conjunction with the university's branding, on products or apparel that can then be sold, and the student athletes will receive a financial benefit from that,” said Serba.

For example, student athletes could get compensated for university jerseys bearing their name. The Brandr Group would create and market the co-branded college products.

In the past, student athletes were not allowed to financially benefit from using their NIL. In June 2021, the NCAA enacted a rule change that allowed for athlete compensation. One day later, Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order allowing the NIL rule change in North Carolina.

Serba said NC Central is now trying to educate these athletes about more opportunities on how to use their NIL.

“We have a mobile app that provides all those educational tools and introduces them to NIL opportunities, and also is the way that they report their NIL activities to make sure that they remain in compliance,” said Serba. “So we're trying to put our student athletes in a situation to be successful on and off the field.”

All NC Central students can opt into the program as long as they play one of the 15 major sports at the university.

Sharryse Piggott is the American Homefront Project Veterans Reporting Fellow.
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