Campus Ink Sports NIL, or “Name, Image, and Likeness” stores have opened at Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh, allowing student-athletes to make a profit through the sale of licensed player merchandise.
Through the stores, students can sell jerseys, t-shirts, and sweatshirts with their names and numbers. The opportunity officially began in July 2021, after concern about compensation for athletes and some schools offering gifts and other incentives for players.
Adam Cook, the vice president of Campus Ink Sports, said it’s a great opportunity for the young athletes.
“There really isn’t a path to the pros for many of the sponsored NCAA sports, and so this is really your window to capitalize on it, celebrate it, to monetize it, to create some lasting memories,” Cook said.
Cook, who was once a college athlete himself, said he understands why it’s important to students.
“I know when I look back at my time as a student-athlete, I’d love to have some merchandise that I could commemorate that window in my career in my lifetime,” Cook said.
Along with commemorating a collegiate athlete’s journey, the NIL store is a way for busy students to get extra cash while they’re competing.
According to NCSA Sports, premier collegiate student-athletes essentially have two full-time jobs: student and athlete. To meet the demands of both, they end up committing nearly 60 hours to school and sports, leaving minimal time for other activities, like part time jobs.
One way athletes can use this store is by marketing themselves, according to Pitt assistant athletic director for licensing and brand management Lori Burens.
“I think they would say that they specialize in those hot market opportunities,” Burens said. “So when there’s a moment in time that’s someone who has a great game, they want to be able to capitalize that so they can react quickly and get the excitement of the moment.”
Duquesne University opened its store on July 13 and is the NIL Store’s 22nd school. Pitt officials said they’ll soon open a store for athletes there, but the date hasn’t been determined.