Sorting NIL compliance is a whole new world for Mack Brown and UNC

Joe Mazur Image
Friday, July 9, 2021

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (WTVD) -- There is so much to sort out for players, coaches and administrators surrounding the allowed capitalization of name, image and likeness that it is mind-boggling. Everyone affected, including UNC football coach Mack Brown, is swimming in uncharted territory.

As of this month, student-athletes can legally make money for their fame for the first time. The rules aren't exactly seamless.

"There were very few guidelines given to us that we're all having to figure out, in your own state it may be different," Brown said Thursday. "At your university, it may be different."

Brown has been meeting with players and parents as they try to sort through the effect on taxes and student loans. Potential marketing agents have to be vetted and certified through the state of North Carolina.

"We've got smart players, so that helps us," Brown said. "They understand that they have to talk to their parents before they're going to make a deal now if they are still a dependent."

It's not tough to figure out who has high earning potential. Star players such as quarterback Sam Howell are the bread winners on and off the field. The real challenge is to find ways to pay everybody on the team.

"Because the Sam Howells of the world are going to make their deals and going to make their money. But the backup right guard, what can we do to help him, and is that through maybe jersey sales?" Brown said. "Is that through video games? What can we do to share the money with all of our players?"

As much as the coaches and administrators will help find financial opportunities, Brown wants to make sure the main focus is still academics followed by football.

"It's about ball before it's about your brand because unless the ball is good, the brand isn't going to be good," Brown said. "So, don't forget who you are, and you need to graduate. That's what you came for. And you're going to make a lot more money on the back end with a North Carolina degree then you are while you're in school."

UNC has set up a "hotline email" to answer compliance questions in this new era that threatens eligibility with any wrong step.

Brown said he thinks the NIL allowance will be a net positive on recruiting once deals get ironed out and players will have a big leg-up when it comes to jobs with newfound connections after graduation.