Justyn Ross thinks the change in NCAA policy to allow student-athletes to profit of off their name, image and likeness is long overdue.
The Clemson wide receiver hosted a meet and greet event in Greenville, S.C. on Sunday afternoon with his teammate Darien Rencher at Charleston Sports Pub. Fans trickled in from noon until 2 p.m. toting Clemson memorabilia, 2018 national championship Sports Illustrateds and received signed photos as they sought an opportunity to meet the two Tigers and perhaps pose for a few pictures.
The sight exemplified the recent shift in college athletics that college athletes across the country have welcomed with open arms.
“It’s basically something that everybody has been waiting on for a long time and we are happy that it is finally here. This is something you can build your brand with and use in the near future,” Ross told The Clemson Insider. “It’s definitely at least seven years overdue.”
The NCAA formally removed rules that restricted student-athletes from profiting in exchange for promotions on July 1 this summer.
Since then several prominent stars in college football announced NIL partnerships. Last week Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei announced a deal with Bojangles at the ACC Kickoff in conjunction with North Carolina signal caller Sam Howell.
At SEC Media Days, Nick Saban estimated that Alabama’s Bryce Young signed close to $1,000,000 in endorsements before taking his first snap. Miami’s D’Eriq King launched a branding agency with Florida State quarterback Mackenzie Milton called Dreamfield and signed several deals of his own including a deal that will allow up to 90 Hurricanes to pull $500 a month from America Top Team in exchange for advertisements.
Even though Rencher serves as a behind the scenes catalyst for the Tigers he participated in two events on Sunday as a result of the NIL including throwing out the first pitch for the Greenville Drive game after the event with Ross.
The two Tigers agreed that the change allows student-athletes to prepare for life without football.
“I think it’s huge and long overdue for us to be able to make money or profit off our brands. Obviously, the market is there for it and I think both of us are trying to maximize it while we’ve got it,” Rencher said. “And we want to do more things after we leave football after we leave Clemson but to make money and build our brands while we are here means the most.”