Historic NIL breakthrough provides first opportunity for UD men’s basketball players

Men’s basketball players like Elijah Weaver (pictured) will be the first UD student-athletes to benefit from the change to the name, image and likeness rules. Photo courtesy of Griffin Quinn, Flyer News.

Peter Burtnett
Sports Editor

In a decision seen as an historic breakthrough for college student-athletes on Wednesday, the NCAA opened the door for the athletes to profit from their name, image and likeness beginning July 1.

The turnaround from the decision to the action was just one day, and student-athletes around the country have already begun to profit from the change that many have pushed for decades. 

The change has already reached the University of Dayton, as local business Flyer Faithful LLC announced Thursday that it will compensate men’s basketball players at UD for endorsements (first reported by David Jablonski and Chris Stewart of Dayton Daily News). Led by former Flyer Brian Roberts, the group has agreed to a contract with the men’s basketball athletes to endorse a rental property near campus. The athletes will use their social media to advertise the availability of the property on Brown Street. Flyer Faithful LLC also owns The Fieldhouse, a bar on the same street purchased in August 2020.

While the University of Dayton itself will not be able to compensate the student-athletes (in-depth breakdown of all you need to know from ESPN), more local companies like Flyer Faithful LLC will soon be sponsoring other athletes. 

The state of Ohio took things into their own hands on Monday by passing their own NIL bill, which led to an interview with UD Director of Athletics Neil Sullivan on Tuesday at UD Arena. 

“We’re clearly in a period of change in college sports and probably a once-in-a-generation change to the intercollegiate model,” Sullivan said. “Name, image, likeness, the Supreme Court, kind of everything’s hitting us all at one time. I had a chance to digest the order yesterday, and we think the university is well positioned to adapt to it.

“There’s not a long runway. July 1 is here on Thursday. But I think our position, our market size, the relationship that we have with our fan base in the business community, we’re going to look at it as an opportunity. We’re not going to look backwards. We’re going to look at it as a chance to move forward. Our players feel the support from the community here. We’re looking forward to what opportunities may exist.”

Sullivan added that the university is entering an “unknown period,” but affirmed that they are “well-positioned” for value from UD student-athletes.

In Oct. 2019, Sullivan said UD would be taking a “backseat” to the NIL dispute after California introduced their own bill and signed it into law. Now, the clarity provided by the decision changes UD’s position. 

“There’s been a lot of speculation since 2019 when California did that,” Sullivan said. “Everyone speculated and we just said we’re going to monitor this. And now we have clarity. So once we have clarity, it’s time to move… 

“My position then and even now is that we’re not going to make moves that we’re going to regret. We’ll be appropriately aggressive once we understand the guidelines, and (Monday) provided that. Up until Monday morning, it wasn’t clear if there was going to be an executive order, if the bill was going to be passed, if the NCAA was going to move, but once we have clarity, it’s time to go.

“We’ve been preparing for a few years for a couple of different things, but we tried not to get too far ahead of ourselves with all the speculation.”

For more sports news like Flyer News on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@FlyerNews & @FlyerNewsSports) and Instagram (@flyernews)