As the entire college sports landscape changes in real time, with one aspect that NCAA athletes are now able to financially benefit off their own identities, schools have started to look for programs providing education on what a good marketing decision is — and what a not-so-good one could look like.
Of course, it's new to the schools as well, so they are having to educate themselves in real time.
The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga is no different, but after months of meetings and trying to find the best fit, on Thursday the school announced a partnership with Opendorse to "help educate, empower and monitor its student-athletes through new opportunities involving their Name, Image and Likeness."
The UTC athletic department plans to use the Opendorse NIL bundle, called Opendorse Ready, Monitor and Social for its "All Aboard" program, which is intended to help find the best resources for success.
"We are very excited to get this program started," UTC vice chancellor and athletic director Mark Wharton said in a school release announcing the move. "Our staff did a great deal of research and planning to determine the best way to support our student athletes in the new world of Name, Image and Likeness. Opendorse provided the most comprehensive product to fit our needs."
UTC is either at or near the top of the Southern Conference in attendance in every sport and has more than 100 events broadcast on ESPN+ every year. The Mocs are also entering a school year when their two top profit-generating sports — football and men's basketball — are expected to compete for championships.
According to the release, the expectation is the new partnership will provide athletes with an avenue to "build a brand that will last long beyond their collegiate athletic careers."