July 1 will mark one year since the NCAA enacted its interim NIL policy for student athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness. Chet Holmgren, the seven-foot former Gonzaga star projected to be selected in the top-three of tonight’s NBA Draft, hopes future college athletes benefit from a more mature NIL landscape that includes a set of national regulations.
“I think it would definitely be helpful for there to be universal rules,” Homlgren told SportTechie at an event for Philips Norelco, one of his NIL partners. “It was kind of implemented on the fly based on circumstances and there wasn’t really time to put together a universal rule book. But over time I think they will, I think that they can make it even fairer and the same for everybody.”
The NCAA approved its patchwork NIL interim policy later amid pressure from states that began passing their own NIL legislation. In April, NCAA president Mark Emmert urged collaboration between the NCAA and Congress to create federal NIL regulations rather than the current state-by-state laws that have helped cultivate a pay-for-play model across college athletics.
Holmgren’s NIL portfolio includes deals with brands such as Topps, Bose and Yahoo Sports. He attended Tuesday’s Phillips event in Brooklyn alongside former Duke freshman star Paolo Banchero, another projected top-three pick in tonight’s draft. Banchero shares Yahoo Sports and Phillips as NIL partners, but says student athletes rarely chat with each other about the finances behind NIL deals.
“I wouldn’t say we shared the amounts we were getting, we kept it private to ourselves out of respect,” Banchero said. “If a guy got a deal, we were always the first to congratulate each other.”
Banchero made history earlier this year when he became the first active college player featured as a playable character in the NBA 2K video game series.
“I can’t even put into words, it was surreal for me,” Banchero said of his NBA 2K22 appearance. “I played 2K daily since I was like nine years old, so I’ve been a huge fan of the game my whole life. To see myself in the game before I even got to the NBA, I couldn’t even believe it. To play with myself and see my face on there with my jersey and everything, that was crazy.”