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In Focus: Student athletes already making deals after NCAA policy shift

Terrapin football players talk excitement, rules
Posted at 4:58 PM, Jul 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-07 18:19:58-04

BALTIMORE — The Maryland Terrapins have spent the summer in practice and workouts - to prepare for the college football season this fall.

But coaches are giving them some off-the-field advice with the news last week from the NCAA.

The College Athletics organization announced a shift in their Names, Image and Likeness policy for student athletes - now allowing the players to make a profit off of themselves.

NCAA president Mark Emmert called this an exciting announcement for student athletes, but then also said they'd be working with Congress "to develop a solution that will provide clarity on a national level," after a "variety of state laws were adopted across the country."

Maryland's General Assembly passed one of those laws this year - the Jordan McNair Safe and Fair Play Act, named for a Terp football player who died from heatstroke suffered during a workout.

That law went into effect on July 1, the day after the NCAA announced its policy change.

Coach Michael Locksley pulled the team into a meeting.

"[He] told us.. the time is here, you're going to be able to profit off yourself," recalls Jha'mel Thorne, a football player and rising senior at the University of Maryland, "Just make sure you guys have contracts, and everything's written down."

Brian Cobbs, another Terrapin football player and rising senior, says the coach also explained some rules from the UMD side of things.

"[We] obviously can't endorse any tobacco products, alcohol, things of that nature," Cobbs says.

He adds, "They're also very strict about - since the University of Maryland has all their stuff trademarked.. if I'm doing an ad for like Gatorade or Aquafina water or something like that, I can't be wearing anything Maryland affiliated, like team affiliated, because Maryland has that trademark."

Already, student athletes are getting endorsement deals.

"So I have the Gopuff thing, PSD underwear," says Cobb.

Gopuff, an online delivery app, has partnered with another platform called Opendorse, a company that connects athletes to potential sponsors.