Texas Launches 'LEVERAGE' Program to Help Athletes Build Personal Brands

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 31, 2020

A Texas football helmet is seen during the team's spring football game, Saturday, March 30, 2013, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Eric Gay/Associated Press

The University of Texas announced Monday it is launching a program called LEVERAGE to help its athletes build their brands and monetize their names and images.

Texas Football @TexasFootball

Giving our student-athletes #LEVERAGE 🚀 to build their personal brands. #ThisIsTexas #HookEm https://t.co/pNUTQ2d20Q

Brian Davis @BDavisAAS

Texas is launching its own program called LEVERAGE to help athletes ultimately monetize their name, image, likeness. This is the new frontier in the college athletics arms race.

Last October, the NCAA decided to allow athletes to profit off their name and likeness starting in 2021 at the latest.

Michael V. Drake, the chair of the NCAA's board of governors and president of Ohio State, said in October:

"We must embrace change to provide the best possible experience for college athletes. Additional flexibility in this area can and must continue to support college sports as a part of higher education. This modernization for the future is a natural extension of the numerous steps NCAA members have taken in recent years to improve support for student-athletes, including full cost of attendance and guaranteed scholarships."

While there are still calls for college athletes to be paid—especially in college football, which generates hundreds of millions of dollars for universities every year—allowing athletes to monetize their image and likeness without losing eligibility was seen as a step in the right direction.

It's also the next frontier in recruiting, as schools will try to convince high-level prospects they can offer the best chance to fully monetize and expand their public image and earning potential. Texas is already seizing on that idea:

Texas Longhorns @TexasLonghorns

There is no better place to #LEVERAGE🚀 your name, image & likeness than the University of Texas. 🤘 Announcing a new program built to empower our student-athletes to take their personal brand to new heights, while at Texas and beyond. https://t.co/SgWZwPdBu3

Texas Football @TexasFootball

For the brand. #Leverage. 🚀🤘 #ThisIsTexas #HookEm https://t.co/wyMDX419bV

Other schools with prominent football and basketball programs are surely implementing plans to do the same.