• Joey Frio

Alston Fallout: Mogl’s Plan to Help All Student-Athletes Navigate the Emerging NIL Landscape

Updated: Apr 14


[1]


It is no longer a matter of “if” student athletes will eventually be able to get compensated for their name, image, and likeness (NIL) – it is a matter of when. Several states have already introduced or passed legislation that will permit student-athletes to be compensated for their name, image and likeness. [2] For example, Florida’s NIL legislation will go into effect on July 1, 2021; California and Colorado on January 1, 2023. [3]


The NCAA is waiting until after the Supreme Court decision in Alston v. NCAA to enact its own rules on student-athlete eligibility pertaining to NIL benefits that student-athletes will be able to receive. [4] Alston was heard by the Supreme Court on March 31, 2021. [5] The Ninth Circuit in Alston previously held that “the NCAA’s cap on education-related compensation is more restrictive than necessary.” [6] The issue on appeal to the Supreme Court, as framed by the NCAA is “whether the Ninth Circuit erroneously held, in conflict with decisions of other circuits and general antitrust principles, that the NCAA eligibility rules regarding compensation of student-athletes violates federal antitrust law.” [7]


Regardless of the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision, state legislation is already forcing the NCAA’s hand. The NCAA needs to create their own rules in order to avoid a summer-recruiting period where schools in Florida are able to offer benefits to student athletes that schools in every other state are not. These rule changes will be groundbreaking. For the first time in NCAA history, student-athletes may be able to seek earnings untethered to education without jeopardizing their eligibility.


But how will student-athletes know how to take advantage of this new source of income? The University of Texas (UT) is one example of how colleges are beginning to prepare their student-athletes. They recently launched a program called LEVERAGE. [8] UT Vice President and Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said the program is designed to “equip Longhorn student-athletes with the knowledge and tools necessary to maximize their brand and platform.” [9] Universities may teach their student-athletes about building a brand, but it is ultimately the student-athlete’s responsibility to create branding opportunities for him or herself.


Ayden Syal and Brandon Wimbush have developed a brand management company called Mogl to help student-athletes generate branding and marketing opportunities. [10] Universities may teach their student-athletes, however, Ayden and Brandon are preparing to provide student-athletes with full-time service. Villanova University alumnus and current Saint John’s Law 3L student Drew Stanko has been updating Brandon and Ayden on NIL legislation since September. Their mission through Mogl is to “provide a holistic experience for the student-athlete, which helps them connect to brands and businesses in their local markets, while also impacting their communities philanthropically.” [11] Their goal is to become synonymous with college athletics. [12]


Ayden and Brandon are both from Northern New Jersey and graduated from the University of Notre Dame. Ayden was working in private wealth and strategy for Morgan Stanley when he became obsessed with how NIL rule changes could positively impact student-athletes and their local communities. [13] He pointed out that participation in youth athletics is decreasing because of the increased costs associated with playing sports. [14] He is passionate about working with student-athletes and helping them give back to their communities. Ayden reached out to several current and former student-athletes to gauge interest in the idea and gather information. [15]


One of the student-athletes that Ayden reached out to was Brandon Wimbush, the former starting quarterback for the University of Notre Dame. Brandon had previously worked in the venture capital space and had expressed interest in becoming part of a start-up company. Brandon was sold by the opportunity to “be a part of a company that would provide tremendous opportunities to college athletes.” [16] He recalled his own experience as a college athlete and conversations with his teammates about former Notre Dame women’s basketball star Arike Onguwale. Onguwale made a buzzer beating three point shot to win the National Championship at the conclusion of the 2017-2018 season. In the peak of her popularity, she needed to be granted a NCAA waiver simply to monetize her appearance on Dancing with the Stars. [17] “That hurdle does not exist for any other individual.” [18] This stuck with Brandon, and it was a major reason why he joined forces with Ayden to help student-athletes financially capitalize on their popularity. [19]


What differentiates Mogl from other brand-management companies is their desire to empower all student-athletes. As Ayden explained, “whether you are a freshman on a non-revenue generating sport or the senior captain of a power-5 conference college football team – we will manage your brand and help you give back to your community.” [20] No matter how big or how small the engagement opportunity, Mogl’s team will assist the student-athlete for no cost. Their long-term desire is for every student-athlete to be utilizing the Mogl platform when seeking branding and marketing opportunities. [21]


Ayden and Brandon agree that NCAA rule changes are good for both college athletes and their respective schools. [22] They have been in contact with over 30 college compliance departments, including Miami, Stanford, Notre Dame, and the University of North Carolina to explain how they plan to assist their student-athletes. [23] The reception from each of these schools has been positive. “The school’s goals and our goals are aligned – we want to ensure that student-athletes’ are not negatively impacted.” [24] Ayden and Brandon are working with many of these schools to create documentation and disclosure information that will make it easier for compliance offices to monitor their partnership with each athlete.



Ayden and Brandon certainly will not be the last entrepreneurs to create professional working opportunities in anticipation or as a result of NIL rule changes. The market is starting to open for college athletes, which will create opportunities for people to assist athletes, universities, or the NCAA. It is without question that student-athletes will benefit from loosened NIL rules, but the benefits do not stop there. For example, the rule changes will create more job opportunities. The demand for lawyers in college compliance offices and NCAA compliance departments is likely to grow as a result of NIL rule changes because there will be significantly more activity for these departments to monitor. Universities are likely to hire new professors and professionals to supplement their programs to teach student-athletes about branding and marketing.


The litany of benefits associated with NIL rule changes leaves many asking why changes were not made sooner. Regardless, NIL has grasped the entire country’s full attention now. Student athletes, the NCAA and its member schools, and branding companies like Mogl now eagerly await the Alston decision to guide their next steps.



References:

[1] Ehrmann, M. (n.d.). Retrieved March, 2021, from https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/ABySPP_sj9bOpxbqtVnr5QQYVhY=/0x0:3000x1931/1820x1213/filters:focal(1376x345:1856x825):format(webp)/cdn.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/62849232/873015006.jpg.0.jpg


[2] Varsik, J. (2021, March 27). Tracker: Name, image and likeness legislation by state. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://businessofcollegesports.com/tracker-name-image-and-likeness-legislation-by-state/


[3] Id.


[4] Stanko, D. (2021, January 20). "Alston" and what it means for college athletics And antirust law. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.jcred.org/shortreads/alston-and-what-it-means-for-college-athletics-and-antirust-law


[5] Id.


[6] Alston v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n (In re Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n Athletic Grant-In-Aid Cap Antitrust Litig.), 958 F.3d 1239 (9th Cir. 2020).


[7] Stanko, D. (2021, January 20). "Alston" and what it means for college athletics And antirust law. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://www.jcred.org/shortreads/alston-and-what-it-means-for-college-athletics-and-antirust-law


[8] University of Texas Athletics. (2020, September 02). Texas athletics to Help STUDENT-ATHLETES leverage their platform. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://texassports.com/news/2020/8/31/texas-athletics-to-help-student-athletes-leverage-their-platform.aspx


[9] Id.


[10] Interview with Ayden Syal And Brandon Wimbush [Online interview]. (2021).


[11] Id.


[12] Id.


[13] Id.


[14] Id.


[15] Id.


[16] Id.

[17] Broomberg, N. (n.d.). Arike ogunbowale Got waiver from NCAA to make money from 'dancing with the stars'. Retrieved April 02, 2021, from https://sports.yahoo.com/arike-ogunbowale-got-waiver-ncaa-make-money-dancing-stars-144900150.html

[18] Interview with Ayden Syal And Brandon Wimbush [Online interview]. (2021).

[19] Id.

[20] Id.

[21] Id.

[22] Id.

[23] Id.

[24] Id.