In the past, National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) student-athletes were technically not allowed to profit from their fame.

Of course, superstars were able to circumvent this rule quite easily. Top-ranked athletic departments across the country showered their top players with cash, cars, and other expensive gifts that skirt the lines between profits and perks.

However, the vast majority of players are not in this position. They have to work hard for their playing time and often end up with little to show from their college career. This is especially true if they aren't stars on campus or drafted into the pros after graduation.

In this article, we take a closer look at the NCAA's NIL (name, image, and likeness) rules to give you a better understanding of how college athletes can now make money from their fame.

What Is NIL?

The meaning of NIL is straightforward: it refers to compensation provided to NCAA student-athletes to promote, represent, or work with companies.

In other words, if a company wants an endorsement from a college athlete, that athlete can now be compensated for their time and effort.

If you play video games, for example, one of the biggest money-makers for NCAA schools is selling the NILs of its players to game developers. Previously, college athletes were left out of this largesse, as they were not allowed to receive any payments from their NIL.

Why Now?

The tremendous public pressure faced by the NCAA due to growing awareness of the raw deal most college athletes get has led to the decision by the organization to relinquish its ethically dubious claim over all of its players' NIL.

Any true sports fan knows that the best of the best in college athletics always have been able to cash in on their fame. 

It's long been an open secret how crazy the bidding wars can get over highly-ranked prospects—while staying within the letter, if not the spirit of the laws.

Now, the NCAA's new rules open a path for non-star college athletes to legally make money off their NIL as well.

As long as they don't break any other NCAA rules, student-athletes can now be paid for their autographs, develop and sell their merchandise to the public, promote products or services through social media posts on Twitter and Facebook, and even make appearances on behalf of a business.

The rule changes finally bring to light what has been an unfair system for far too long. Student-athletes have put in all the hard work and dedication, and they deserve to be compensated fairly for it. 

This is a huge step forward in giving these young men and women the opportunity to make a good living off their talents.

Ways to Profit Off Your NIL as a Non-Star College Athlete

While it's tempting to just dive right in and put your NIL on the free market as soon as humanly possible, you must consider the specific circumstances of your situation before doing so.

Despite the sweeping nature of the new NIL laws, states and schools still have the power to set their own rules that can impact the money-making opportunities you can get with your NIL.

But as long as you steer clear of these potential pitfalls, here are a few of the many ways you can make money with your NIL as a non-star college athlete:

Sign Autographs For Cash

One easy way to make some extra money is by signing autographs for fans. You can set up a table at games or post about it on social media to let people know where to find you. 

Non-stars obviously won't have as many fans as star athletes do, but there is still a market for your autograph, especially if you're a campus favorite.

Sell Merchandise

You can create your own line of t-shirts, hats, or other gear with your name and logo on it. This is a great way to show off your skills and make some extra money at the same time.

If you're an early adopter of crypto looking to use NIL for NFTs (non-fungible tokens), you should be able to do so without any hassles. This is an option rapidly growing in popularity, especially among mainstream stars. 

While the question of how NFT impacted the sports industry remains contentious, their potential for monetizing one's NIL is clear.

Invest in Crypto

Speaking of NFTs and blockchain technology, cryptocurrency has become a popular way to invest your money. If you are not familiar with the market, it is important to understand the risks before investing in this new world. 

Swyftx.com was created by an ex-NFL player and cryptocurrency investor who wants to make investing in cryptocurrencies accessible for everyone!  Swyftx.com is a user-friendly platform that allows you to buy, sell and store cryptocurrencies securely. 

They also offer a wide variety of tutorials and resources to help you get started in the crypto world! Swyftx.com is the perfect place for non-star athletes who want to invest in cryptocurrencies!

Promote Products or Services

If you have a personal Instagram account or YouTube channel, you can promote products or services for a company in exchange for cash. 

This is a great way to share your favorite things and make some extra money at the same time!


If you have an impressive social media following or show plenty of promise on the field, you could be approached by companies who want to use your NIL as part of an endorsement deal.

Event Appearances

If you're a student at the school hosting the event, promote it on social media to increase attendance and make some extra cash for yourself!


The NCAA has made a historic change in rules that will allow non-star college athletes to profit off their NIL. 

This is an important step forward in giving these young men and women the opportunity to make a good living off their talents, but there are still many considerations for student-athletes when it comes to how they want this rule applied.

If you're considering your options on making money with your NIL as a non-star athlete, keep in mind all of the ways available so you can cash in on your fame without breaking any other NCAA rules!


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