Georgetown University student-athlete Jibril Syed posing with Dr. Shakeel Niazi
Name, image, and likeness (NIL). These three words are the fruits of labor put in by families, coaches, and advocates for generations to allow student-athletes in the NCAA to capitalize off of opportunities related to their persona.
On July 1st, 2021 that hard-fought battle was won when the NCAA put into effect new rules that would allow them to take advantage, ushering in an era that presents a myriad of possibilities.
The space is new. Uncharted territory for everyone, especially athletes. On one hand, these opportunities could be a means for paying off student loans, living expenses, sending money back home to help pay bills, long-term investments, pocket money for a night out, or a little something to tap into on a rainy day.
On the other hand, it could be a means for athletes to be exploited, engage with a partnership in a toxic industry, derailment from the pursuit of academic and athletic excellence potentially even jeopardizing one's scholarship or status as a student-athlete
Recently, Jibril Syed, a Division 1 track and field athlete for Georgetown University, known for being a US History-making All-American in high school became one of the nation's first track athletes to take advantage of the new NCAA rules allowing him to generate revenue off of his name. He entered into an agreement with Dr. Shakeel Niazi, Metro Detroit Top Dentist and founder of the Elite Smile Center who would use Jibril's imagery to promote his practice.
The opportunities appear to be rolling in for Jibril. Kevin Friend, a Georgetown University alum, former Division 1 basketball player for the late John Thompson and one of two Managing Partners for The Arkad Group, a luxury Real Estate sales and development team with Keller Willians Capitol Properties is set to launch an opportunity to rep his business. These opportunities were facilitated by his father and coach, Jameel Syed.
Second picture from left to right: Coach Jameel Syed, Jibril Syed, Brandon Miller, Chad Miller
Coach Syed has a skill set of developing brands and tapping into tough to breach markets. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, world record holder, and marketing executive with well over twenty-five years worth of experience in brand management and strategy consulting. Coach Syed compiled a top 10 list of best practices and pitfalls as it pertains to the subject of NIL engagements as a starting point for student-athletes, families, and coaches to help navigate this journey.
1. Calibrate your intentions. Be humble and start small. Approach only those that believe in you
2. Engage legal counsel for advice on how to receive funds and operate within guidelines
3. Build an honest team that will hold you accountable, fiscally responsible, and keep you on task
4. Engage high-quality HR: Designers, photographers, copywriters with what's affordable
5. Build an effective presence on social media sharing the journey while projecting high values
6. Create a portfolio with highlights (GPA, awards, and marks), testimonials, other NIL accounts
7. Forge target lists. Pursue low hanging fruit: Family, friends, community, and businesses
8. Invest in yourself. Keep building up your product: Good character, academics, and athletics
9. Make sure to have a paper trail. Signed agreements, receipts, tax returns
10. Whether you're sure or not sure, running everything by compliance
1. Don't allow yourself to be exploited by family, friends, community members, or partners
2. Don't over-inflate yourself by talking yourself out of a deal because you think you're worth more
3. Don't waste your time approaching a system where approval takes a long time.
4. Stay away from anybody or anything, online or in-person that would doom your brand
5. Try not to compare yourself with others who have more. Trust and relationship building takes time
6. Don't make the mistake of thinking about what they can do for you. Ask yourself what can you do for them
7. Compromising your or your partner's values to turn a quick dollar = Short-term gain, long-term loss.
8. Don't seek professional advice from people that don't have the education, expertise, or track record
9. Don't become disheartened when people you expect to partner with don't feel the same way
10. Don't stop building, because the business isn't coming through. Keep investing in yourself!