Detroit Mercy athletes find success with NIL deals

Detroit Mercy student athletes were given an opportunity like never before in mid-2021 when the NCAA Board of Directors approved an interim Name Image and Likeness (NIL) policy, and many are taking full advantage.

The NIL policy allows NCAA student athletes to participate in endorsement deals while being compensated for the use of their name, image, or likeness. Prior to the passing of the NIL policy, college athletes were prohibited from profiting off themselves; athletes would be suspended from competition for accepting any sort of compensation or endorsement deal.

Following the approval of the new NIL policy, Detroit Mercy athletes along with NCAA athletes across the United States began teaming up with brands to increase their exposure.

Sophomore lacrosse player Aidan Bishop sees the NIL policy as an amazing opportunity for athletes. Bishop began benefitting off of the new policy when he partnered with Bubbl’r, a natural energy drink company.

 “When the NIL policy was passed, I thought it was a great thing for college athletics,” he said. “There are a lot of athletes that have a big platform and fan base, and it’s a good thing that they can finally start to make money off of their hard work.”

Men’s soccer captain Jackson Towers’ 2022 season ended abruptly after he suffered a torn ACL. But the NIL policy allowed Towers to partner with a company called Firefly that would assist him throughout his healing process.

“They are actually a recovery company…It benefits me because I get to have a recovery device that helps with my ACL recovery so it’ll help with soreness,” said Towers.

Others, like freshman basketball player Isaiah Jones, are using their NIL deals to promote their name across different brand platforms. Thanks to the help of Detroit Mercy and its basketball coaches, Jones has partnered with a variety of companies such as WhyBar, PSD Underwear, and even been featured in a nationwide commercial with Golden State Warrior superstar Steph Curry.

“They (Detroit Mercy Basketball Coaches) have put my name out there,” Jones said. “I was Freshman of the Week one time and with them putting that out there a few brands hit me up to collaborate and share.”

The university began working with platforms called Opendorse and Basepath, where all Detroit Mercy athletes may explore, track and maximize NIL deals. Steve Corder, Detroit Mercy’s Assistant Athletic Director for NCAA Compliance, shared his thoughts on how Detroit Mercy is excelling in educating, providing opportunities and supporting student athletes when it comes to NIL deals.

“Comparatively speaking, with our peer institutions, we (Detroit Mercy) have been ahead of the curve the entire time,” Corder said. “Our goal has been since day one to provide opportunity, especially when recruiting, to show that if they’re interested in NIL we are, in terms of peer institutions, ahead of the class in providing more opportunities than any other school in our category.”