This afternoon the university announced a game changer in the NIL world. After months of seeing Kentucky fall behind in this new era of NIL, it finally looks like someone has got into their heads and spoke some sense into them, because, this addition is definitely progress from where we have been at. Actually, I'll go out and say it is a huge step from where we have been at, instead of just floating around for two more years.
Well, the question is, what exactly is that? A "BBNIL Exchange?" In a press release sent out by the school's athletic department, it stated that this new platform is "a safe and easy-to-use portal to connect UK student-athletes with interested entities to make deals compensating for the use of their name, image and likeness (NIL)."
"The BBNIL Exchange is a free, user-friendly service to both student-athletes and those looking to do NIL deals. The exchange includes a safe directory and portal where businesses can connect with student-athletes to explore, negotiate and make NIL deals. The BBNIL Exchange builds on Kentucky’s commitment to putting student-athletes first and empowering them to benefit from their NIL," said the release.
“We are committed to working on behalf of our student-athletes in every way we can, including and especially in the NIL space,” Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart said. “The BBNIL Exchange is another exciting step for both our student-athletes and the local businesses that are such an important part of our community. Our young people are leaders in our region and therefore great brand ambassadors. This next step in building on our NIL empowerment programs will be beneficial for our great student-athletes and local businesses looking for excellent leaders to serve as their representatives.”
The press release continues with, "Once a business or collective registers on the BBNIL Exchange they can access a searchable database of UK student-athletes who have opted in. Registered entities can message the student-athlete directly within the BBNIL Exchange or request the student-athlete's contact information (or that of their representative) to start a discussion about an NIL transaction." It continues by saying, "NIL deals completed within the BBNIL Exchange also include various automations to make transactions and disclosures easier for everyone. The app will include a payment processing tool for the business to securely and directly pay the student-athlete without transaction fees."
“Kentucky is a powerhouse in the SEC with a brand that spreads across the world,” INFLCR Founder & CEO Jim Cavale said. “As INFLCR’s first ever client, it’s an exciting day to provide Kentucky with a new piece of NIL technology that will bring student-athletes and Big Blue Nation even closer together. With no shortage of local or national supporters, the BBNIL Exchange will maximize NIL opportunities for all current and future Wildcats.”
So, clarifying what you just read, this new feature will allow our players to be in direct contact with businesses to make financial gains for themselves through their name, image and likeness, while trusting that the platform will still be safe and secure while still being monitored by UK (although the school still cannot be involved in any of the negotiations of the deals) to build that safety net. This elevates its (UK) athletes into a major market of making strong connections and also making money while they are in college.
I'm honestly not sure if any other universities have this model, or one that is similar to it, but if not, I expect other schools to have one close like it as we advance on through NIL.