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Social media presents opportunity for young athletes

[This post was previously featured in the June 22, 2021 issue of the gpublicity newsletter, SIDEbar. We repost as college athletics prepares for monumental change in just a few hours.]

As we approach July 1 when Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) laws kick in for college athletes in several states, it’s worth mentioning how important it is for young people to know the responsibilities they accept when they use social media. They also have opportunities like never before.

It’s likely that social media endorsement deals will blanket athletes’ agendas as they recoup the right to make money off their own faces like they could as kids when they ran lemonade stands. They’ll be able to conduct camps and make a few dollars teaching others athletic skills — and promote them via social media. They may design t-shirts with personal logos and sell them — and promote them on social media. There’s unlimited space for crossover. This is a chance for college athletes to build their personal brands and earn money while they compete in college. For most, it’s a time that their marketing value may be its highest.

Laws will vary by states as it stands at this writing, but hopefully, innovative athletics directors will do what their governing body, the NCAA, could not, and guide their athletes into this exciting new world. (Buena suerte, mucha mierda — good luck, y’all — I know you need it.)

One way for future college athletes to get a handle on what may come their way via NIL is to learn productive and positive social media skills as young as early-to middle school. We know kids are already using Snapchat, Instagram and others with their friends, so it’s reason enough to show they’re ready to absorb and practice do’s and don’ts with each social media platform. It’s also a great age to get parents, coaches and teachers involved so they may better guide young, aspiring athletes for now and the future.

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┬ęGail Sideman, gpublicity.com 2021

**Don’t wait until athletes are in high school or college to coach them the value hidden in social media. Contact Gail to ask about how your middle schoolers (or younger) can learn productive and fun ways to use social media. Whether they’re aspiring athletes or starry-eyed science students, it will help them grow as responsible communicators with tools they already use.

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