Pros, local athlete weigh in Name, Image, and Likeness rules

Former MSU standouts offer up advice for college athletes and a local recruit reacts to the new NIL rules.

Posted: Jul 14, 2021 9:50 PM
Updated: Jul 15, 2021 9:10 AM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (WTVA) -- Over the weekend, a bunch of NFL players came to Starkville to participate in the Jeffery Simmons football camp. Simmons played his high school football at Noxubee County, college at Mississippi State and he currently plays for the Tennessee Titans. I asked him about what advice he would give to players that are starting to exploring name, image, and likeness opportunities.

"I hope it's good for the college athlete," Simmons said.

Pros like Jeffery Simmons urge college athletes to not go it alone when it comes to NIL endorsements.

Simmons is in the middle of his rookie contract where he's earning over 12 million dollars over four years. While college athletes won't be making that much, when it comes to any endorsements, Simmons implored athletes to not go it alone.

"Make sure you have a good team around you to know the ins and outs of whatever endorsements," Simmons said. "If it's an agent or whatever it may be, make sure you have the right circle around you."

Another former local star at the Simmons camp was Starkville native Willie Gay. After playing for State, Gay was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs. Like Simmons, Gay is familiar with the grind of a college athlete, but in addition to echoing Simmons, he added:

"Don't make it your main priority, your main focus, worry about football, school then football, and your life," Gay said. "Because if you just get the money and block out everything else you're not achieving nothing."

Simmons and Gay are professional athletes, which means they have professional resources like agents and money managers, and other services provided by their NFL teams. Even Division-I schools like Ole Miss have entire departments dedicated to the NIL legislation and issues which may arise. What about kids at the high school level? The NIL adds a wrinkle to an already tough decision when it comes to top recruits like Itawamba's Isaac Smith.

"I gotta start looking more into it as I prepare for college," Smith said.

Smith is a junior and a four-star recruit. He's already got offers from D-1 schools like Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Notre Dame and Georgia. When it comes to potential endorsements, he's choosing to focus on other things.

"I want to go on like the academic way to school," Smith said. "I like a lot of like good fans and I like meeting people, so the money won't play a big part in where I go."

The new rules also affect the coaches of top recruits, like Smith's coach Clint Hoots, who was a college athlete himself. High school coaches do take on responsibility for their athlete's recruiting and in the early stages, he said that this is information he still has to learn more about.

"You no longer look at like ok I can go play for this program because its prestige or I can get an education from this college because of its prestige," Hoots said. "Now this adds a third element to it like what are they allowing."

What are they allowing is a good question. As of now, different states have different rules, so when it comes to recruiting, there are already advantages and disadvantages forming depending on which state a particular college resides.

Coach Hoots said that high school coaches in Mississippi are having a meeting in Jackson this week to discuss the issue further. 

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 479326

Reported Deaths: 9353
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32779484
Hinds30924582
DeSoto30319353
Jackson23542341
Rankin21235366
Lee14803219
Madison14120271
Jones13327223
Forrest13078236
Lauderdale11501303
Lowndes10377176
Lamar10163130
Pearl River9008217
Lafayette8193137
Hancock7404111
Oktibbeha6909122
Washington6900150
Monroe6459159
Neshoba6441201
Warren6387163
Pontotoc623093
Panola6203125
Bolivar6072144
Marshall6068121
Union571386
Pike5574135
Alcorn533289
Lincoln5283131
George466072
Scott454796
Leflore4444140
Prentiss443377
Tippah442180
Itawamba441599
Adams4376116
Tate4327101
Simpson4313112
Wayne430766
Copiah429587
Yazoo419686
Covington413292
Sunflower4123104
Marion4073104
Leake395486
Coahoma391098
Newton367274
Grenada3543104
Stone350359
Tishomingo333288
Attala324286
Jasper313162
Winston303091
Clay294173
Chickasaw286265
Clarke279890
Calhoun263940
Holmes261387
Smith248048
Yalobusha219647
Tallahatchie217550
Walthall209958
Greene206845
Lawrence205732
Perry198553
Amite197651
Webster195042
Noxubee177739
Montgomery171654
Jefferson Davis167442
Carroll161437
Tunica150834
Benton141533
Kemper138039
Claiborne126134
Choctaw126026
Humphreys125937
Franklin116328
Quitman103426
Wilkinson101536
Jefferson87333
Sharkey62320
Issaquena1926
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 778549

Reported Deaths: 13665
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1105871747
Mobile704651206
Madison49152610
Baldwin35946479
Shelby35796302
Tuscaloosa33410532
Montgomery32906672
Lee22231216
Calhoun20791397
Morgan19605326
Etowah18837449
Marshall17465272
Houston16452368
St. Clair15233293
Limestone14376182
Cullman14348246
Elmore14241256
Lauderdale13298278
Talladega12699230
DeKalb12036233
Walker10430323
Autauga9568133
Blount9555152
Jackson9235146
Coffee8728169
Colbert8426179
Dale8410170
Escambia6526114
Tallapoosa6501172
Covington6396163
Chilton6293141
Russell598555
Franklin5719100
Chambers5315133
Marion4734115
Dallas4665182
Clarke457076
Pike456294
Geneva4315116
Winston417192
Lawrence4086108
Bibb401680
Barbour341968
Marengo323183
Butler314988
Monroe314652
Pickens300470
Randolph299955
Henry298356
Hale289383
Cherokee284652
Fayette275672
Washington244848
Crenshaw235168
Clay225163
Macon217657
Cleburne217149
Lamar192140
Conecuh179646
Lowndes170158
Coosa166432
Wilcox155736
Bullock147742
Perry136036
Sumter124136
Greene120142
Choctaw72826
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