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Gamecock Athletics Expands NIL Involvement

COLUMBIA, S.C. – After a year-long buildup and the suspension of a state law that restricted its activities, South Carolina Athletics has set the stage for its student-athletes to maximize their NIL opportunities. The previous assigning of Hilary Cox to oversee the department’s navigation of the NIL landscape, this week’s launch of the Gamecock Exchange in partnership with INFLCR and an upcoming announcement of a program that will allow fans to more directly impact a student-athlete’s financial welfare are the key parts of the department’s ongoing investment.

 With the suspension of South Carolina Bill 685 effective on July 1, the Athletics Department can now help facilitate NIL deals for student-athletes, a space in which the law prohibited staff from operation in the initial year of NIL implementation. With a set of plans in place now, Gamecock student-athletes of every sport are poised for the next set of opportunities.

“The commitment to develop our student-athletes for life-long success is at the forefront of everything we do,” said South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tanner.  “Policies and rules around NIL are changing constantly and our department has pledged to provide our student-athletes with enhanced NIL opportunities.  With the recent changes in the state law, our staff has put processes in place to help match our student-athletes with our great Gamecock fan base and the business community to create lasting NIL partnerships.”

Named an associate director of athletics administration in 2021, Cox has taken the lead in NIL navigation for both the Athletics Department and its student-athletes. Dedicated to educating student-athletes on the broad concepts of NIL from the beginning, Cox has led the department now with three core values – information/education, connection and facilitation.

South Carolina continues its work with Altius, a partner since July 2021 when the new NIL rules went into place. The group has been assisting Gamecock student-athletes in understanding the ins and outs of establishing their own brands, financial literacy and negotiating NIL deals. That partnership will continue in the year ahead.

The big shifts in approach for South Carolina have come in the connection and facilitation missions. This week, Gamecock Athletics is launching two significant initiatives in the connection category. The first was Tuesday’s announcement of the Gamecock Exchange, which directly connects South Carolina student-athletes with interested outside parties on NIL partnerships and opportunities. A core group of businesses have already registered on the site, and the Athletics Department will continue to grow that pool of opportunities.

Another connection and facilitation enhancement will come with the launch of the new look of GamecocksOnline.com on July 1. Working with WMT, South Carolina Athletics made NIL connection a focal point in the new design of the website. For those that provide the information, student-athlete bios will spotlight not only how to follow them on social media but also how to connect with them on NIL opportunities and any personal brand or retail websites they have developed.

In another facilitation move, South Carolina Athletics is also working on a first-of-its-kind project that will allow Gamecock fans to directly invest in student-athletes in exchange for unique ways to show their passion for Gamecock Athletics. Expected to launch later this summer, the new program will provide financial benefit for student-athletes immediately and in the long-term, possibly beyond their college athletic careers.

For the most up-to-date information on South Carolina Athletics NIL initiatives, check the website or follow @GamecockNIL on Twitter.

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