MARSHALL, Tx (KMSS/KTAL) – A monumental change that has been in the works for years is finally a reality. Student-athletes at the NCAA level can now benefit from their name, image, and likeness.
At the nation’s biggest schools athletes are already taking advantage. Arkansas Razorback wide receiver Trey Knox has already signed a deal with Petsmart, while LSU quarterback Myles Brennan has reached an agreement with Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers.
But it’s not only big names cashing in. At East Texas Baptist University, a Division III school with a student population of just over 1,400, two-student athletes are already seizing the opportunity.
“I think it’s great for ETBU, I think it’s great for our region and for our region in East Texas and the Ark-La-Tex area,” said ETBU Athletic Director Ryan Erwin.
Tiger wide receiver Caleb Eagans and offensive lineman Ahmad Farrier became the first two ETBU student-athletes to sign NIL deals, reaching agreements with New Jersey-based Elite Athletic Gear
“I’ve had a lot of people reach out to me and I read it and I don’t know if it’s legit,” said Eagans, who will enter his first season with the program this fall after transferring from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. The 5’9″ wideout who began his career at Texas A&M said the offer from Elite Athletic Gear set them apart from others. “When I got this one it was different.”
As we enter a new landscape of collegiate athletics, the logistics are still not crystal clear.
“Currently each state is doing it differently and then the question becomes, ETBU being located in far East Texas, 30 minutes from the state line, what does that mean for students that don’t live in Texas but go to ETBU?” Said Erwin. “Which rules do they follow? Louisiana, or Texas or Arkansas?”
That answer isn’t currently clear, but it’s not exclusively about location. Division size also plays a factor.
“Maybe division I is going to have different rules than Division II and Division III which we’re used to and I think we’d be fine with.”
The immediate future of student-athlete name, image, and likeness is unclear. The only certain? The Division III precedent has been set by two Tigers in Blue and Gold. The rest of those at East Texas Baptist University are set to compete in this new landscape.