NextName is offering fans the opportunity to purchase the “name, image, likeness” (NIL) of a college team and individual players through the sale of their NFTs. NextName mints NFTs on the Flow blockchain developed by Dapper Labs. The majority of net proceeds of NextName NFTs go directly to the student-athletes. 

See examples of a player token here and a team token here.

The NextName platform was created following last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling which opened the door for college athletes to receive compensation by restricting the NCAA’s rule-making authority. Following the ruling, the NCAA changed its policy to permit student-athletes to receive compensation for their NIL. 

As part of its launch, NextName created professionally designed NFTs for University of Illinois student-athletes and their respective teams. This opportunity allows fans to support the team as a whole as well as individual players. Universities will also receive a share of the proceeds through a direct licensing agreement with the school. 

“We wanted to create a transparent method for college sports fans to support their favorite players and teams and NFTs provided a cutting-edge way to achieve that goal” explains NextName co-founder Steve Thayer. “It’s time for players to share in the multi-billion-dollar college sports industry that has previously left them out.”

While the NCAA has made it clear that “pay-to-play” arrangements are in violation of NCAA rules, the NextName platform offers no compensation or other arrangements to any incoming players and simply provides compensation opportunities for the players who have already signed with a team. 

NextName was founded by Steve Thayer, a 1988 University of Illinois LAS Economics graduate and 2018 Chicago Illini of the Year, and his son, Ryan Thayer, a 2021 University of Illinois graduate of The Gies College of Business. The duo sought to find a way to support collegiate athletes nationwide, both legally and fairly.

Following its initial University of Illinois launch of digital collectibles, NextName plans to expand its offering to include digital collectibles from other schools and universities across the country.

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