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Marquette Takes Steps To Prepare Athletes For Name, Image, & Likeness Era

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It’s buried in the press release, but it’s not insignificant.

Seton Hall v Marquette Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Marquette athletic department announced that they have entered into a department-wide partnership with INFLCR, a company that provides the technology “for teams to store, track, & deliver content to their athletes, coaches, alumni, and other brand ambassadors.” This is an expansion of a partnership that began with MU men’s basketball in March 2019 and quickly expanded into women’s basketball as well.

You can go read the press release on the topic at hand as well as visit INFLCR’s website to get a handle on what their service provides, but it seems pretty simple. The client (Marquette, in this case) uploads various digital assets — pictures, graphics, videos, and so on — to INFLCR’s servers. The various members of the various teams can then access the assets wherever they are through the INFLCR app, and thus use MU’s imagery on their own social media accounts. If a Marquette photographer takes an awesome photo of Theo John throwing down on some poor unsuspecting soul, then it’s easy for Theo to then turn around and put that picture up on Instagram. I presume it also helps the MU communications department by having cloud based access to the digital assets so they can work on various things while traveling with the teams as well.

Most of the press release is exactly what you think it is. Blah blah quote from athletic director Bill Scholl, blah blah quote from INFLCR CEO Jim Cavale, blah blah app sessions blah blah downloads, blah blah quote from Markus Howard about using the system.

However, the very last paragraph/sentence of the press release is incredibly interesting and fascinating in terms of what the Marquette athletic department is helping to provide their athletes with this partnership. Here’s the exact words:

Marquette’s department-wide student branding program is only the beginning, as they continue to work with the INFLCR team on new ideas to amplify student-athlete voices and prepare for a new era in college sports with Name, Image, & Likeness.

And there it is. Part of the point of MU rolling this out for every student-athlete to be able to use is the MU admin end positioning itself to be proactive in assisting their student athletes to properly monetize their social media presence as the NCAA moves closer and closer to allowing athletes of all sports to profit off of their name, image, and likeness rights. A fairly recent article on AthleticDirectorU.com (it’s undated but mentions COVID-19, so it’s not that old) attempted to do some rough research/math as far as the potential earning power of college athletes. I’d like to share this segment, emphasis theirs:

One potentially surprising takeaway from our analysis is that many of the most popular female athletes would likely be able to generate as much – if not more – endorsement revenue than their male counterparts based on social reach. Indeed, by our estimates, the UCLA women’s gymnastics team alone could be worth as much as $1,250,000 annually in endorsement revenue, including generating almost $10,000 per team wide sponsored Instagram posts pushed out via a platform like Inflcr.

Hey, look, there’s mention of INFLCR. What are the chances.

The point of this is that there is an untapped potential for all of Marquette’s student athletes, no matter the sport. Sure, it’s probably not going to be mid-six figures like the article suggests for incoming UConn (hey, they’re in the Big East now!) freshman women’s basketball player Paige Bueckers. But could it be low five figures like ADU suggests for some track and field athletes? Probably, and that’s the point. The INFLCR system helps the student athletes make the most of their social media profiles with easy access to highlights and photos. The more impressive the social media profile, the more followers you have, and thus the more you could potentially earn.

Marquette is setting the stage to be prepared to help their student athletes as much as possible when the time comes. That’s all you can really ask from the athletic department. Oh, one last note from the press release. [/Extremely Columbo voice]

the first department-wide partnership in the Big East conference

Get on our level, Big East programs.