The NCAA Influencers Are Coming

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S1: So if you haven’t heard, the NCAA passed an interim intel bill, which is allowing student athletes to make money off her name, image and likeness.

S2: Hi, I’m Rachel

S3: Hampton, and I’m Madison Mullen Kirchherr, and you’re listening to Icymi

S2: in case you missed it,

S3: Slate’s podcast about Internet culture.

S2: And unfortunately, we have to talk about a favorite person on this podcast.

S3: We don’t have to. We must find crazy things back on the Internet.

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S2: She is she is back on.

S3: Never really left.

S2: I was like, did she leave Instagram? She only left Twitter. Really?

S3: I look, she posted a very long Instagram today with the caption all about how she’s hanging out in, quote unquote club cancel.

S2: It’s also incredible that she’s like, being offline is bad for me. When it’s like Chrissy, you have millions of dollars. You can buy friends to clap for your jokes.

S3: I’m just trying to buy myself a life off platform.

S2: No, it’s also why. Because so many people’s wildest dreams is just logging off and Chrissie’s is logging on after being credibly accused of harassment. Casey, take a beat. Touch some grass

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S3: for Rachel I who do remain likewise terminally online. We want to shout out a listener in our mentions this week, Joel, who actually took my suggestion and listen to a high speed download at half speed. If you ever want to know what Rachel sounds like, drug.

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S2: If you ever want to know what it’s like when I’m explaining my job at a bar, this is what it sounds like. So Rachel would know because she’s been doing this for three years and is a certifiable gorecki’s and actually has contact with animals from here. What I did hard winter for Schroeder and annoying

S3: parents got

S2: involved. I see

S1: that she gives

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S3: Joel.

S2: Thank you. I just it makes me realize how little I enunciate in those icymi downloads.

S3: So it’s like, you know, those Facebook copy pastas about how if you keep the first letter in a word and the last letter in a word the same, but scramble the middle, your brain can still understand the word. Yes, that’s us doing

S2: high speed downloads. Yes. Yes, it is. Thank you so much for this, Joel. We will now be recommending that you listen to it at point eight XP, because point five XP is perhaps too slow.

S3: Keep us posted.

S2: But we are not here to talk about what I sound like drunk. We’re here because we are actually now the podcast. Hang up and listen. This is a sports podcast. We’re talking about sports because the NCAA just made a huge change to a longstanding policy about athletes making money off of being athletes. For years, student athletes couldn’t profit off their likeness, meaning, in, you know, modern parlance that a D1 basketball player turned overnight. Viral TikTok sensation could not make a single cent off an audience of millions of followers that for quite literally anybody else would amount to a full time job influencing and thousands of dollars per post.

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S3: Continuing on our sports theme later in the show, it’s time for the Olympics. Well, almost time. We’re still a week out from opening ceremonies during which I will cry and unfortunately be overcome by a wave of nationalism that I’ll then talk about in therapy. But I TikTok it happens.

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S2: Look, I mean. I was going to say God bless America, but I don’t believe that Olympic

S3: theme starts playing Diana and and and and then and again that I’m just gone.

S2: Can you finish that song?

S3: No, I cannot. On TikTok, though, the Olympic Games have already begun. So we’re going to get into some of our favorite athletes who are posting over there and talk about how being an influencer isn’t just a thing for college athletes and how the social media attention is about more than just personal profit, especially when it comes to women’s sports. So speaking of women’s sports, are you familiar with an athlete named Sedona Prince?

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S2: Yes, I believe so. I don’t you can say no, I’m going to. I was like, I feel like I’m going to I need to say up front, not a job interview. And I am like faggoty like I am not proficient in Excel, nor am I

S3: really very good. Skills are excellent.

S2: I am passively fluent in French. That’s a lie. I don’t really know much about sports. However, I do know Sedona Prince for one reason and one reason only. She’s famous on TikTok for being quite tall, but not just quite tall, but having a very short girlfriend. I don’t think I realize until we started talking about this episode, I was like, Oh, this is just a tall woman with her small girlfriend that I was like, oh, it makes sense that this tall woman also plays sports.

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S3: OK, so Sedona Prince is six foot seven. I just is a D1 women’s basketball player for the University of Oregon. Go ducks, quack, quack or something. Yeah, sure. So Sedona comes on to the radar of those of us who are perhaps not diehard women’s basketball fans. In March of twenty twenty one, she goes viral for a TikTok video. Such Twitter video exposing the inequities between the facilities for the men’s teams and the women’s teams at the NCAA tournament.

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S1: I got something to show y’all. So for the NCAA, March Madness, the biggest tournament in college basketball for women, this is our weight room. Let me show you all the men’s weight room.

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S3: The men’s weight room is please envision just the most tricked out gym for the women. Sedona just points the camera at this stack of tiny free weights like the kind you might keep in your house during the pandemic to like, stave off existential dread for a week.

S1: If you aren’t upset about this problem, then you’re a part of it.

S2: I went to high school in Texas. Our football team’s weight room was sponsored by Nike. I know exactly what’s going on here.

S3: This video blows Sedona up from being a player with a moderate social media following to being somebody with two plus million followers on TikTok. Damn, it’s a lot. Yes, it’s not. You know, we’re not we’re not a DeMello, but it’s no small

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S2: change, like nothing to sneeze at.

S3: Personally, I’m obsessed with the TikTok she makes with her partner, Riley, who is four foot nine. And it’s very funny when they switch clothing

S2: this again, this is how I was introduced to said I was just like, what is happening here?

S3: So Sedona prints, they become a TikTok star in their own right. And then what happens for a student athlete with a giant platform? In the past, it would have meant nothing would have meant that Sedona has the potential to just become more and more Internet famous, but with no net gain for a student with a giant platform in the past, that would have meant nothing. All of that changed. On July 1st, 2021, the National Collegiate Athletic Association announced it is temporary, allowing student athletes to take sponsorship deals and to make money off their name, image, likeness. That’s well, this is huge.

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S2: It’s huge. This is one of the biggest changes to student athlete dumb love sports in like the history of the NCAA. This is this is a really, really big changes everything. Because one of the biggest criticisms of the NCAA is the fact that students who make. Billions of dollars for both the NCAA, for the universities, for the entire ecosystem of college sports are not allowed to profit off of their likeness, but the school can put their likeness wherever the fuck they want while student athletes get a scholarship, which

S3: we’ll get into that. Yeah, some states already had legislation in place to allow student athletes to do this relatively new legislation. But now the NCAA is working with Congress to nationalize the policy. Here’s Sedona explaining that better and more like a human being and not a policy wonk.

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S1: So if you haven’t heard, the NCAA passed an interim intel bill, which is allowing student athletes to make money off her name, image and likeness. So previously, student athletes couldn’t make money off of their brand. We couldn’t sell merch. We couldn’t get endorsement deals. We couldn’t charge for autographs or pictures. But this bill allows for all that. So that means when you buy your favorite college athletes t shirt, that money is going directly to your favorite college athlete. Now, this is getting a lot of controversy, but coming from a student athlete side, this is huge for us. Athletes that are large creators haven’t been able to make a cent off of their platforms like other large creators do.

S3: There was a piece in BuzzFeed last year from Tanya Chen that I revisited upon this announcement. And Tonya called student athletes, quote unquote, the original college Influencers, which I think is the perfect way to think about this. Eco-System sports are a huge draw for schools. I know that sounds obvious, but in terms of campus culture reputation, who wants to attend a school with both of those things that are bigger sports teams, more talented, more famous? Let’s be honest, probably hot players like all of this is good for a school’s bottom line because it gets you and me to go, even though you and I are never going to win basketball.

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S2: Yeah, it gets me to go. It gets people to go to the games, which is really where the money comes in. It gets alumni to donate. So Graham’s got to buy the T-shirt again. Alumni donations to specific sports programs are one of the biggest moneymakers for schools. But what does it do for individual athletes? Quite literally, nothing. This is such a weird controversy in the realm of college sports. So many people have opinions that college athletes don’t deserve to be paid. I don’t understand that kind of thinking at all. I understand from a point of football and basketball are honestly the main draws and a lot of the programs don’t turn a profit. And so it does mean that student athletes who play for a D1 football team would be making more money than their colleagues who are rowing

S3: or, hey, now we’re good people.

S2: I’m not saying you’re not, but I do understand that concern. But the NCAA rules, which is, I think, kind of put under this rule of amateurism, that these players are amateurs and therefore should not be allowed to profit off of their likeness. Makes no sense when you think about the fact that the NCAA, its profits are largely driven off the backs of black players who do get better facilities than their female, lesser known student athlete colleagues, but who are making millions, billions of dollars for universities, but who are quite literally not allowed to make money or take any money. And a lot of these kids are coming from lower incomes who can’t profit off of the very thing that is making money for the university that they’re at. Brandon Collins Dexter, writing for The Undefeated, honestly described this dynamic as slave labor. And there are stories of student athletes who can’t even afford to buy groceries. A 20 19 study found that nearly one quarter a Division one student athletes had suffered recent food insecurity, which is a phenomenon that’s 100 percent going to be exacerbated by the pandemic when students weren’t on campus. But the terrible thing is students can quite literally risk their eligibility by accepting money for food. So if you are a student who can’t afford groceries, are you going to take a job, be on the team and do your classes? It’s kind of impossible for walk-On students who don’t get scholarships free.

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S3: And for some student athletes, that’s true. But for many, that is not the case. For example, if you’re a walk on player, so that’s somebody who isn’t recruited out of high school, you get to you get to college and you audition. Hi. I’ll be performing the monologue from what is Kurt Sangli. I’ll be auditioning for the role of Kicker. But you get to college and you try out and if you make the team, you walk onto it, which means you probably don’t get a scholarship most likely to play that sport, which means you’re still on the hook for your college tuition. Here’s a TikTok from John Seton, who’s a football player at Elon University who did walk on to his team. And he talks a little bit about that.

S4: And the fact that I would lose my eligibility to play my sport if I made so much as a dollar off of my personal brand is ridiculous. This legislation needs to pass for those of us who are not in the spotlight so we can ease the burden on those around us who have to pay these tuition fees. And you might say, oh, college athletes have free school, whatever, screw up they get enough. Some of us trying to work, make an honest dollar along with playing our sport and going to school on

S2: a incredible B.. Imagine going into debt for a school that is making millions of dollars off your likeness. See, even if you do get a scholarship. Most college tuition fees for undergrad, I’m going to say, Max, out around 90 career, if you’re there for four years, you were that is like a substantial amount of money. It is just under half a million dollars. That is perhaps three seconds of one NCAA final tournament ad spot. Like the proportions are off here. So many people are like you get an education for free. A lot of people get an education for free. And they definitely are not bringing in billions of dollars to the university. Candidly, I got scholarships. I didn’t bring shit to my school. All right. I was not making the amount of money that football players and basketball like no one paid money to come see me do anything, you know.

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S3: Whoop. But you can make a podcast.

S2: I mean, yeah, but no one’s sitting here paying for this. Subscribe to say plus like this. It’s it’s wild to me that so many people find it controversial that student athletes should be able to make money off of their face. Why wouldn’t the school own their face like that’s what’s happening here. They’re owning their bodies. And that sounds a little.

S3: Yeah, you know, weird to me. I do think it does. There’s so much nuance also buried in this idea. We were just talking about about college athletes getting to go to college for free, even within like Division one. There’s something called a head count sport here. Here’s where I slide that for a brief moment. I thought I was going to walk onto a college sports team. There’s something called a headcount sport. And then there’s something called an equivalency sport and headcount. Sports are teams where there’s a set number of team members you have to recruit every year. And every single one of those people will get a scholarship equivalency sports. The school has a pot of money it can allocate to a number of different people on different teams. So it’s not necessarily a guarantee that you will get a full ride scholarship. So, again, there’s just a lot buried beneath this facade of student athletes. Have it easy, all the glamour, all the glory,

S2: all the not being able to buy groceries or afford food. So the thing is what’s at stake here with this recent change to NCAA rules? Obviously, money, but how much money are we talking?

S3: So Colin Rosenblatt, who is a reporter for NBC News. We’ve talked about before on the show, did a piece about this and talked to a director of brand partnerships who works with brands and Influencers and said they estimated within the year the average student athlete, you know, who is really trying to make a go of being an influencer could make between 10 grand and 30 grand. That’s scene, I’m going to say the exact same thing

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S2: to me, that 10 to 30 grand there. I mean, I guess, OK, you said average, which I think is probably what that is kind of hiding in that Sedona Prince is going to make that off of one single post.

S3: And let’s get into the sexism of it at all. The male equivalent of Sedona Prince

S2: is going to make four times that off of one single post. But this is huge news for student athletes. This, in fact, changes the calculus for people about whether or not they can afford to be student athletes. And this also changes the calculus that colleges are going to make. They were already recruiting Influencers. Are you familiar

S3: with the Baylor twins?

S2: No. I mean, I grew up and I’m familiar with Baylor University.

S3: My only entry into Baylor is this set of twins who I’ve been following on the Internet since they were little girls. Their mom used to do their hair on YouTube. They’re very famous, like a mega family of like 10 Influencers. But these twins, Brooklyn and Baylor, who worked as Influencers for Baylor while attending Baylor,

S2: that’s I mean, Brooklyn and Bailey deserve to make money off of their likeness if they’re going to be recruited by the school for their likeness. I mean, it’s only one likeness.

S3: They’re identical twins.

S2: I mean, OK, I’m sure. But like, they deserve to make as much money off their like this they want just as student athletes do.

S3: Right. So recruiting athletes up until July 1st, 2021 was already recruiting them to be Influencers and essentially free labor. We remain a union podcast, solidarity forever. Now, the calculus, as you said, it has to shift so that Influencers stands to no longer profit solely institutions. And I think we’re going to see a big change in how colleges utilize the students who play sports for them and more importantly, how student athletes utilize the colleges

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S2: know exactly they have much more power in this equation than they had beforehand.

S3: A cautious I’m going to I’m going to cautiously declare a happy ending. Yeah, I’m going to hold my breath on Icymi. Why am I? After the break, I see why my sports returns with the Olympics. So the Games are still a week away, but athletes from all over the world have started landing in Japan and so have their TikTok. We’ll be back with our official pregame coverage of the games of the Thirty Second Olympiad, because that’s why you listen to our show after a quick break.

S2: We are back with more sports again, this is now a sports podcast

S3: I have died my hair like I’m Bob Costas at the 2000 games in Sydney. I’ll hopefully be avoided. Getting pinkeye, if you like me, are an Olympics Megafaun. You can get all your Olympics news by signing up for Slate. Plus, that will give you access to all our Special Olympics coverage on Slate Dotcom and on Slate’s other sports podcast. Hang up and

S2: listen. They’re not as good as those.

S3: Of course, being a member of Slate Plus means no ads on this show or any other Slate podcast. Head over to Slate Dotcom Slash AC. Why am I plus to sign up for one book right now?

S2: But back to the main event, the Olympic torch.

S3: Let’s take a run. I’m already crying.

S2: I’m not running anywhere. But we are not talking just about the Olympics. We are specifically talking about Olympic TikTok and how it is time for y’all to start training, not for any sort of athletic event. Don’t worry, but you do need to start telling your TikTok algorithm to serve you the promise of Olympic content, the gold standard of Olympic content.

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S3: Honestly, I’m sort of hoping that people also bootleg the Olympics ads on to TikTok. I just want Morgan Freeman selling me a sob story and also a credit card in a black and white commercial.

S4: We forget all the things that make us different.

S5: All the things that make us the same. Proud sponsor of the Olympic Games and the only car sector

S2: has Morgan Freeman convinced me to get a credit card. Not yet, but it’s going to it’s going to happen at one point.

S3: She does the ads with the moms.

S2: We love emotional manipulation by corporations.

S3: I love the Olympics. But I do also need to say, as an Olympic super fan, the Olympics also suck.

S2: Like we do have to we do preface

S3: they are racist, they are gender essentialist, and they are antiblack,

S2: deeply anti black justice for sprinters. Shikari Richardson and the two Namibian teens, Christine and BOEMRE and Beatrice Mussolini, whose testosterone levels exceeded what is allowed for women, which is gross and weird. And that happens every year with black women. So fuck the Olympics.

S3: But it’s totally fine that Michael Phelps is, you know, lactic acid levels are comically a historically low for human beings. Yeah, that’s

S2: he’s just special. He’s just he’s a special little boy.

S3: Unfortunately, three decades of IOC propaganda and fuzzy little mascots. All of this has broken my brain.

S2: I have literally never seen you more excited for anything on this podcast. It is honestly stunning.

S3: So I’m going to need both the IOC to be held to account. And also I’m going to need to watch just athletes in their prime crushing other athletes in their prime in games of blood and sweat and tears.

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S2: What is this Greek mythology?

S3: Yes, quite

S2: literally. I mean, I’m mostly just excited to sit and watch people at the absolute top of their physical fitness do something while I sit on my couch and think, oh, yeah, I could fucking do that. Like who really? Curling. Luge.

S3: You been to a bonspiel? It’s harder than it looks.

S2: I don’t even know what the fuck you just said.

S3: It’s a girly curling competition. OK, so the epics are the two weeks of the year. Everyone is an armchair expert and I, I love this. So we have a couple of wrecks of people to follow on TikTok to start telling your algorithm, give me the muscles. So first up for me, because the TikTok algorithm just has me squarely pegged, is a women’s rugby player named alone Amar, who makes really good content, has been showing us to the teammates on the women’s rugby team,

S1: introducing the women who are representing the USA in the Tokyo Olympics. Rugby Sevens Part one. I’m Chris Thomas. I’m twenty seven. I’m in Philly and my mom thinks that our role is, Hey, I’m Nicole Hovland, I’m twenty six. I’m from Whitefish, Montana

S3: and I love vanilla frosting. I got to say, a sport I don’t keep up with in the off season. But I do anticipate knowing everything about women’s rugby for exactly a fortnight this summer,

S2: I’m going to recommend Eric Shoghi, who is a volleyball player and just so tall and beautiful and talented. He’s very he’s very good at what? He’s so good at what he does. He’s on the he’s obviously an Olympic volleyball player.

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S6: Welcome to day one with USA Volleyball in Japan. We arrived to Michigan City last night where we’ll be staying for a couple of days, got up early because of jet lag. Even on top of that mirror, I’m not sure how. Had some coffee, obviously, and then headed to breakfast with the team.

S2: I was pretty hungry. His arms are like I think as long as my body I have I have a lot of feeling.

S3: Rapid-fire a couple more at Anastasiya Underscore Underscore P, who is a Paralympic swimmer. Can you chase twenty five for women’s rowing and then a new sport this year. I’m on a Rennolds time on to underscore Rennolds for skateboarding. Oh I know I’m excited.

S2: I’m also excited. Despite my general anti nationalism, I do enjoy watching hot people do things very well.

S3: The thing about making TikTok as an Olympian is yes, it is about building a brand and establishing a fan base. And that fan base comes with the potential for money making and endorsements. Look, we all the Olympics to Wheaties box pipeline, we all know and love

S2: each of these people

S3: brought to you by Olympic gold medalist Dejour got milk.

S2: I have feelings about that campaign as a lactose intolerant person. However, yes, I do understand how many Olympic how many Olympians who are on those campaigns as a child currently.

S3: But the less financially motivated capitalist side of Olympic TikTok that I’ve really been enjoying is it does bring attention to sports or athletes. You might not otherwise see as much prime time coverage of women’s rugby. Am I regularly watching that? Are they going to take away my gay card for this answer? No, I’m not regularly watching women’s rugby, but now I’m really interested. And more eyeballs and fans means more money and better everything for the athletes involved in these sports. It means they don’t show up to their training gym and have a small stack of free weights. Oh, my gosh. It means more attention to para athletes, it means more respect for a sport like skateboarding or surfing, you know, like the new stuff this year that seems sort of trendy and cool, but also is incredibly difficult.

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S2: Wait, so you’re telling me then on Icymi, we’re going to wrap up an episode by saying attention and time equals money?

S3: Yeah, but in a positive

S2: way, yes. Wow. A happy ending. I feel like

S3: these are not new points. Obviously, this is exactly what Sedona Prince was saying on TikTok earlier this year. And honestly, it’s what the U.S. women’s national soccer team has been shouting about while wearing very good suits forever.

S2: I think the kind of takeaway note here is to always listen to women in very good suits.

S3: I see no better place to end the podcast than that.

S2: And that’s the show. We’ll be back in your feed on Wednesday, so definitely subscribe, it’s free. You’ll never miss an episode. You’ll get to hear us be thirsty on Main. Also, leave us a rating review, an Apple podcast. Tell your friends and fans about us. You can follow us on Twitter at Icymi. Underscore Pod, where we will share your very fun remixes of me sounding drunk and also the means that you make. We love the memes that you all have made of us and you can always drop us, Meems, or voice notes or remixes or hot athletes to follow at Icymi and Slate Dotcom.

S3: I see why images produced by Daniel Schroeder, our supervising producer, is Derek John Forrest Wickman on Alegra. Frank are Slate’s culture editors and Dave Roth is editorial director of Audio Seiyu Online

S2: or at the Olympics. Cancel Cabaret, cancel club, cabaret, cancel are no musical performances, cancel most cabaret. No.

S3: My name is not.