University of South Florida


University of South Florida, Total NIL team up to launch Name, Image and Likeness certificate program

By Kevin Watler, University Communications and Marketing

The University of South Florida is kicking off a new opportunity for student-athletes, administrators and parents across the nation to educate themselves on Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) to help them set a strategy and make informed decisions in the ever-changing NIL landscape.

USF’s Corporate Training and Professional Education unit has partnered with Total NIL to create a non-credit certificate program that provides participants with the essential skills needed to capitalize on their NIL. “Foundations of NIL” is ideal for current and aspiring college athletes as well as administrators, coaches and parents who want to better understand and prepare for future NIL deals. More information on how to register can be found here.

Open to the public, the four-module, self-paced, $495 certificate program is fully online and includes the following modules:  

  • NIL 101
  • Defining Your Brand
  • Maximizing Social Media 
  • The Anatomy of an NIL Deal 

The course is taught by cutting-edge sports industry leaders with deep experience in college athletics. Instructors include:

  • Lauren Hoselton, the CEO of Total NIL and the director of player development for the Ole Miss Collective, the Grove Collective, and a former Division 1 athlete who secured dozens of NIL deals the first year it was passed.
  • Mercedes Sapp, a coordinator for student-athlete enhancement at USF Athletics, where she helps students with NIL education. She competed as a Division I athlete and comes from a storied sports family that includes former Tampa Bay Buccaneer Warren Sapp.
  • Jon Schwartz, a sports executive who held senior leadership roles with the Big Ten Conference, National Football League and NASCAR. He is also a strategic communications consultant and an adjunct professor at New York University’s Tisch Institute for Global Sport.

Though critics predicted that NIL would only benefit a small percentage of athletes, analysts from ESPN note that “athletes, from star players in high-revenue sports to walk-ons to charismatic athletes in lesser-viewed sports, have found the NIL space to be quite lucrative.” 

“We saw a need in the marketplace to provide an unbiased course on NIL as a means to educate the people who are interested in NIL,” said Mark Koulianos, assistant vice president for university-community partnerships at USF and the leader of the Corporate Training and Professional Education team. 

Koulianos said NIL is an everchanging landscape and there is a lot of confusion among parents, coaches, student-athletes and even athletic directors.

“This program is one tool in the toolbox to help student-athletes navigate the ins and outs of NIL and playing at the college level, regardless of which sport they play – and whether the choose to attend a D1 school, a smaller private institution or a community college.  Understanding the anatomy of a deal can help people avoid entering into a bad deal.”  

Koulianos said that participants will learn from some remarkable instructors, get a roadmap detailing what it takes to make a good deal and learn what it takes to develop, activate and monetize NIL – and they will have a digital Credly badge to prove it. Credly digital badges are a web-enabled way for people to share their learning achievements, experiences and credentials with others.

This program is a USF Corporate Training and Professional Education offering that is available to all USF student-athletes, as well as coaches and athletes elsewhere. It provides a quick start, explaining the NIL fundamentals, a glimpse into NIL opportunities, and can help them navigate the NIL marketplace.

USA Volleyball Florida Region and USA Lacrosse North Florida are partners on the endeavor.

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