While the NCAA's leadership spends its time hobnobbing with Congress and fretting atop the tippy-top of its ivory tower, the foot soldiers on the ground are busy making plans.
Name, image and likeness payments are coming to college athletes, it's only a matter of when.
As plans are being debated and voted upon in state legislatures across the land and inside the halls of Congress, this month we've got a glimpse as to how it might look in practice.
Below is a hype video Nebraska produced for All-Big Ten cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt. In many ways it's a typical hype video -- big hits interspersed with Hollywood-style editing. It's clear that Taylor-Britt's nickname is Cam Juice, and at the end you'll see a juice box with a C in the middle -- a player-specific logo.
Nebraska is not the first program to produce logos for its players. Ohio State dabbled with it in the past, and Oklahoma and Texas introduced their 2020 signees with individual logos.
It's not hard at all to squint into the future and see these logos leap from social media to the real world. Perhaps a Cam Juice t-shirt is stocked for sale alongside standard Nebraska gear inside the Memorial Stadium gift shops, with player and school splitting the proceeds.
Maybe Cam Juice skips the middle man and sells his own t-shirts directly from his own online boutique. Perhaps we see that Cam Juice on pop sockets, on athletic socks, on juice boxes in the near future.
(And, no, I'm not a copyright lawyer, but I'd imagine all those logos are technically the property of the athletics departments that created them.... but in a post-NIL world I'd be willing to wager they'd gladly come to some mutually beneficial arrangement with Johnny Five-Star until he exhausts his college eligibility.)
It's not like any of this is a novel concept, after all.
The state of Florida, lest we forget, is processing a bill that would grant its college athletes the right to market their name, image and likeness as soon as next July.
College athletes need just to look to the pros for examples of how to capitalize on their image, and the most forward-thinking schools are equipping them with the tools to do so from the moment they sign their letter of intent.