Now that college athletes can enjoy their names, images and likenesses, players have strengthened their personal brands with the help of outside agencies or new branding initiatives launched at the colleges they attend.
Most of these branding efforts are from players doing things on their own, but the Ohio State basketball team has come together to launch “The Players Edition” line to celebrate “Team 123 “. According to Yahoo financeprofits from T-shirts and sweatshirts in the line will be divided among players, regardless of their seniority or playing time.
The idea was born in June, when the school’s director of professional development connected team members with OSU alumnus Brandon Fuss-Cheatham, who was founding a NIL management group to help college athletes to fire their NILs.
The garment, when it launches, will come in three colors with the words “PLAYERS EDITION” around a basketball. The graphic also features an overview of Ohio State and the number 123, referring to Ohio State’s 123rd men’s basketball team.
Since no Ohio State trademarks are used, the school will not receive any promotion money, a stark contrast to how things worked in previous years. Now it’s all really about the players.
“It wasn’t like we had to capitalize on that moment,” Buckeyes guard Jimmy Sotos said. “It was more than we wanted to do. We’re just a very close group of guys. I think it shows in the way we present ourselves on social media and even on the basketball court. I think we we have a very good chemistry team.”
This apparel isn’t just a great way to boost team chemistry, it’s a way for fans to rally the whole team. Next year, the team hopes to sell Team 124 gear, hoping to start a new tradition at OSU.
“We care about basketball more than anything in the world,” Sotos said. “We care about winning championships. Anything outside of basketball is what we would do in our spare time anyway. We just decided to put it towards something more and something that could benefit us.”
Universities alone are no longer the only opportunities in the new NIL landscape. Players branch out on their own, and as long as the merchandise doesn’t include anything copyrighted, they can do anything without the involvement of the university, which is another big change from the way things were usually done in college sports promotions.