WSU leads the way by partnering with a brand consultant

With the NCAA changing its rules to allow student-athletes to profit off of their likeness, Washington State has announced that they’re partnering with brand consultant and author Jeremy Darlow to work with its athletes. The athletic department released the below recording of a Zoom call between several of its coaches and their new consultant.

The decision to allow bring in a brand consultant to help athletes navigate this new world in college athletics is the right decision for Washington State. Not only is Darlow going to help with them making a profit off of their likeness, but he is also going to work with them on using that brand in their post sports life.

These new rules could provide WSU a slightly better shot at landing some higher profile recruits. The star high school athletes that are being recruited will now have a new element to consider in their decision making process; do they want to be a small fish in a big pond (i.e. the loaded football rosters in Euguene, Ore. and Seattle, Wash.) or a big fish in a smaller pond where they are more likely to stick out?

This is especially true when that smaller pond is offering them a resource to help them become more effective as a brand while also leveraging their on-field accomplishments to build it. For WSU to become the first Pac-12 North program to offer this benefits to all of its athletes is very big brain move that will help its programs appeal to not just the students current wants but also their future.

Building up the players personal brand is going to be crucial for the athletes and Darlow’s program, because some of these NCAA rules about profiting off of their likeness, while in school, are just asinine.

Allow student-athletes to make money by modeling apparel as long as that apparel doesn’t include school logos or other “school marks.”

Allow athletes to make money from advertisements. Athletes would be allowed to identify themselves as college athletes in advertisements, but would not be allowed to reference the school they attend or include any school marks in the advertisement.

-Dan Murphy, ESPN

This means that the athletes won’t be able to use, or reference, the name of the school that they are generating profits for while trying to make some money on the side. While I can understand the thought process behind this rule — then the athlete is messing around with the licensing department for each school — but that doesn’t make it any less dumb. A college athlete is partially known by what school they go to, you see this on Draft Night for the professional league when the pick is announced; or on every Monday Night football broadcast when the line-ups are introduced.

While the athletes can’t use their schools in their advertisements, there is apparently nothing barring the universities from using the athletes in their campaigns.