LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — It’s a task that has kept University of Nebraska-Lincoln junior business major Jake Bowman busy for much of the past year: helping Husker athletes capitalize on new name rules. , image and resemblance.
“We’re just trying to help as many athletes as possible understand their NIL potential,” Bowman said.
In 2021, NCAA rule changes allowed college athletes to earn money through their name, image and likeness for the first time.
“Honestly, I think it’s something that should have been here a long time ago,” said Nebraska sprinter Chris Ramsey. “But I’m grateful we have it now.”
An athlete in his high school days at Lincoln Christian, Bowman has long wanted to work in sports.
Early this school year, Bowman says, he was approached by Joe Petsick, an executive-in-residence at UNL’s College of Business, to start an NIL counseling program to help Husker athletes optimize marketing opportunities.
Bowman partnered with fellow UNL students DJ Pfeifer, Cooper Allen, Paige Brandenburg, and Claire Neemann to form the NIL Advisor program.
Every Thursday, counselors set up a table at Memorial Stadium to assist Husker athletes and answer any NIL-related questions they may have.
“Our biggest job is to make NIL as easy as possible for them,” Bowman said. “And so that’s kind of what we use as a lens for everything we do.”
Brant Banks is an offensive lineman for the Huskers who recently started a radio show on 93.7 FM called “Sunday Morning Pancakes” with teammate Nouredin Nouili.
Banks said Bowman and the NIL advisory team have been a huge asset to him.
“They helped me contact different companies and talked to them about possibly sponsoring me for the show,” Banks said. “They’re doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, and I’ll take all the help I can get.”
One specific hurdle that NIL counselors help athletes overcome is how to build their brand without getting in trouble with college.
Under university rules, Husker athletes cannot wear the Nebraska letter in sponsored ads.
But Bowman said there are ways the Huskers can present themselves as athletes without breaking college rules.
“When doing your social media posts that aren’t sponsored posts, wear your Husker stuff,” Bowman said. “It will grow your audience, and that’s what businesses want.”
“Once you post a sponsored post, it feels natural, helps businesses, and increases your value,” he said.
Bowman said he and his brother Caleb started a business called Signature NIL, designed to help athletes market themselves, develop content and sell merchandise.
Ramsey, who has more than 100,000 followers on TikTok, recently teamed up with Bowman, launching his own line of products as well as the “Timeless Talks” podcast with bandmate Niko Schultz.
“A lot of people see us as athletes, a lot of people like to see not only what we do on the court and in the pool on the track, but also our day-to-day life, and that gives us an opportunity to show them who we are as people,” Ramsey said.
“We’re just trying to help work with as many athletes as possible, to create really fun and entertaining content for the fans where they feel like they’re connecting with these athletes that they see on TV at a more personal level,” Bowman said.