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January 2023,

Dear parents of college athletes and future college athletes;

Young athletes are the future of sports.

With their drive and passion for the game, they can create opportunities for themselves and others. Given the right guidance, young athletes can develop into successful, well-rounded athletes. They can use their talents to reach new heights and challenge themselves, while also inspiring those around them.

As a parent, it is easy to get caught up in all the hype surrounding NIL. When charting the course for your child’s NIL experience, it’s important to remember that your child is a student first, an athlete second, and a NIL pioneer last–the first two serve the last.

One way young athletes exercise their NIL rights is to educate themselves. Many schools provide athletes access to educational opportunities such as financial literacy training, mental wellness support, and brand building classes. These programs can give young athletes the tools needed to reach their current and future goals and become strong leaders. Collectives, a group of alumni who come together to promote and advocate for the student athlete, also provide educational resources as well as income opportunities. Collectives, similar to a booster organization but for colleges and universities, often work to ensure that college athletes receive the resources, support, and respect they need and deserve.   Many universities have multiple collectives on campus.

Parents of young athletes should begin researching the landscape of NIL.  Encourage your kids to sign up on as many NIL platforms as possible.  Perhaps reach out to the collective directors and introduce yourself and your student athlete child. We have had several parents reach out to us and we pride ourselves in contacting them back.  This puts a face with a name and tells us that the student athlete is going to be “all in” when taking advantage of their NIL rights.  These proactive athletes are always put at the front of the line when a brand wants to do a campaign with us.

Young athletes should also take the initiative to find mentors who can provide guidance, help them hone their networking skills, and begin thinking about life after competition. You can find these mentors through collectives. This is the most unspoken value of collectives. The media frames collectives as “bagmen” for future recruits.  I can tell you that is not the case. The collectives PlayBooked works with are run by honest, hard working alumni who have nothing but supporting their respective schools athletes in mind.  These trailblazers love their schools and want to create an environment of inclusion across all sports. It is through these collectives that the student athlete can find great mentors.

A mentor can offer personalized advice and support, which can be invaluable in helping an athlete reach their potential. Young athletes should also make sure to network with collective directors and other athletes. This can help them build relationships with those who can provide guidance, as well as open up new opportunities. Building relationships can also help young athletes get noticed by businesses and future employers.

Ultimately, your child has an amazing opportunity via NIL.  Trust your gut and instincts when deciding whether a university is the right fit for your kid and never follow the money.  In the end, the only currency that matters is your child’s diploma.

If you ever need any consultation or advice about Name, Image and Likeness and how this affects your child please do not hesitate to reach out to PlayBooked.  


Keith A. Mitchell