NIL could impact athletes mental health

Published: May. 18, 2023 at 8:52 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The name, image and likeness, or NIL, rule allows amateur athletes to be compensated by businesses for marketing.

However, more money could mean more problems, according to local psychologist Dr. Josh Klapow.

“The pressure that that puts on particular athletes can be immense,” Dr. Klapow said.

He explained being an athlete and student is hard enough on its own, then the NIL places valuations on athletes. In 2023, the highest valuation was $7.6 million for an 18-year-old high school star basketball player.

“They are students and they are athletes, now we are going to add in a new piece which is entrepreneurs, business owners. Just the added layer of activity can distract from studies. Can distract from play on the field,” Klapow said.

Some may argue that the ability to make millions before going pro is a major opportunity but Klapow said it can be if the athlete has the proper support system.

“‘This NIL, branding is nothing you should be concerned about.’ Instead of saying that, say, ‘how do we help you manage it?’ How do we help you based on your interest, based on your potential, based on your success, navigate the business implications, the ethical implications, the legal implications?”

Klapow said social media is also driving the pressure for athletes to participate in NIL even when they don’t want to.

He said understanding that NIL is a business and should be handled as such can help athletes cope.

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