Last week, Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei announced he signed an agreement to endorse Bojangles as one of his name, image and likeness deals.
“Shoot! It’s Bo-Time, man! I am excited to be a part of Bojangles and be an ambassador for them,” Uiagalelei said.
It is no surprise, Uiagalelei is receiving opportunities to make money of his name, image and likeness after the NCAA changed its bylaws on July 1.
However, not every player on Clemson’s nationally ranked football team is receiving as many high-end deals as Uiagalelei. In fact, there are some that are not receiving any at all.
“We don’t need to talk about anything like that. For us, it is like an unwritten rule. We don’t really talk about any of that,” Uiagalelei said. “We get excited for each other if you get a deal or something like that, but when we are in the locker room, our thoughts are all about football. We are not talking about NIL or anything like that.”
Clemson linebacker James Skalski feels the Tigers have a pretty good grasp on separating football from the NIL. They came to school to get an education and then play football for Clemson, and now they are excited they have an opportunity to make a little bit of cash when they are not playing football.
“Of course, D.J. is going to bring a lot more attention than a walk-on,” Skalski said. “I think you just have to keep the main thing the main thing. We openly discuss in our locker room how we will not openly discuss each other’s business.
“Yeah, you can joke around with your roommate here and there, but we are there for a reason. That is to train hard, get better and win football games, while bringing the university to the top.”
Skalski believes the culture at Clemson, which was set way before he arrived on campus, will win out when it comes to trivial things that are only for personal gain.
“We are not there to sign some marketing deal,” he said. “So, if we can just keep the main thing the main thing, [the NIL] is just a little side to what we are here to do. I think it is a good thing the NIL is there, but I think if you have a locker room that does not have the right culture it could tear you apart.
“But I am not concerned one bit. I think [the NIL] is only beneficial to us.”
Does Clemson’s locker room culture give the Tigers an advantage over most teams.
“You can argue that, but I will not say it will. It is an argument you can make,” Skalski said. “I think any team with a better culture than the other, it is an advantage regardless of the NIL or not.”