Photo courtesy of Colorado athletics

BOULDER, Colo – The Colorado athletic department announced on Monday the creation of “Buffs With a Brand” to assist student-athletes in developing their NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness).

The program is designed to help Colorado’s student-athletes in navigating the new NIL world. By January 2021, the NCAA’s new legislation will provide students with ways to capitalize in this area.

So, what exactly does the new program entail?

Star-Studded Cast of Contributors

Colorado’s athletic director, Rick George, has been vocal in creating a way for student-athletes to benefit from NIL. The goal of the program is not only to improve students’ time at CU, but beyond.

The school has enlisted the help of several industry professionals. Lauren Unrein, CU’s assistant director of the SCRIPPS Leadership and Career Development Program, will be in charge of the coordination.

One key partnership from this is with Jeremey Darlow of Brands Win Championships. Darlow has experience in brand consulting with athletics, coaches, and teams. Students will participate in his program, “The Darlow Rules,” a decision that came after Darlow analyzed Colorado’s mission.

As the first Pac-12 school admitted into the program, Darlow sees that “Colorado is committed to providing the tools necessary to set their athletes on a path for success in life after sports.” His ringing endorsement further echos George’s work to push this initiative.

Another key member of the team is Erick Mueller, professor and faculty director of Entrepreneurial Initiatives within CU’s Leeds School of Business. Mueller believes the Buffs’ program will set the standard for schools across the country, saying it will “blaze the trail and foster amazing entrepreneurial opportunities for our student-athletes.” Mueller is an award-winning individual with a name known to the entrepreneurship world.

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Comprehensive Education at the Forefront of the Country

Colorado’s program is incredibly unique to other universities across the nation.

The ultimate goal is educating Colorado’s student-athletes on how to best capitalize on the new NIL rules. The program will have input not only from industry professionals but other academic units to include workshops, videos, and mentoring. Open to all current Colorado athletes, the school is making strides to become the forefront in student-athlete education.

The program will focus on “three key pillars,” being personal brand management, entrepreneurship, and financial literacy. To complete the program, student-athletes must go through a few steps.

First, they must develop their brand as well as a marketing plan. They will then create a mock company and pitch the key aspects of the company to the programs’ cohort at the end of the semester. On top of this, students will create profit and loss statements. Also, students will complete lessons on the key ‘do’s and don’ts’ of NIL.

Overall, the program looks incredibly thorough and exciting for student-athletes. Colorado is prioritizing its personnel with this move, showing they will guide these young athletes into maximizing their potential.

As George said, the move aims to help its students “capitalize and build on their time at CU and beyond.” His commitment to his student-athletes is largely unparalleled.