Northwestern announces NIL partnership, academic awards for student-athletes


Daily file photo by Angeli Mittal

Walter Athletics Center. In the span of a week, NU announced a NIL partnership with Fanatics and that scholarship student-athletes can accept academic awards.

In an ever-changing college athletics landscape, Northwestern is seeking new ways to support and reward its student-athletes.

On the heels of National Collegiate Athletic Association v. Alston, in which the Supreme Court ruled the NCAA’s restriction of education-related benefits violated antitrust laws, NU announced on Sept. 13 that all student-athletes on scholarship can accept academic awards during the 2022-23 academic year.

“Our purpose always will be centered on supporting Northwestern student-athletes in every possible way as they develop in the classroom, in the community and in competition,” Athletic Director Derrick Gragg said in a Sept. 13 news release. “This ability to recognize and reward academic achievement is the latest example of our University providing a first-class foundation for Wildcats to grow and excel.”

NU will also partner with sports merchandise brand Fanatics and OneTeam which will allow Wildcat student-athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness, the University announced Tuesday.

As a result of these partnerships, the Cats’ faithful fans will be able to buy personalized t-shirts with the name and number of their favorite NU athletes later this fall.

“We are thrilled to partner with two innovative companies that are committed to developing opportunities for student-athletes to maximize their personal brands,” NU Executive Senior Associate A.D. for Revenue Generation and Strategic Initiatives Tyler Jones said in a news release. “This program will ensure Wildcats continue to stay on the cutting-edge of a constantly evolving NIL landscape.”

Only fall sports teams, including football, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer, will be included in the initial launch, according to the University. Winter and spring teams, including, but not limited to, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball and softball, will launch later this year. 

NU’s new partnership with Fanatics comes nearly two weeks after the retailer released its first batch of NIL college football jerseys.

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