The payment of collegiate athletes has been a major debate point for years, leading to a recent change that allows players to receive NIL compensation without threatening their eligibility to compete. The WWE is getting into the game as it has announced an NIL program for collegiate athletes to potentially join the WWE.
The news was announced on Thursday via a press release creating what is described as a “clear pathway from collegiate athletics to WWE.”
The NIL policy was put into effect by the NCAA in July of 2021. NIL stands for name, image, and likeness, allowing players to monetize each of those areas. This program is meant to improve the WWE’s talent development process with college programs across the country.
“The WWE NIL program has the potential to be transformational to our business,” said Paul Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy and Development. “By creating partnerships with elite athletes at all levels across a wide variety of college sports, we will dramatically expand our pool of talent and create a system that readies NCAA competitors for WWE once their collegiate careers come to a close.”
This partnership creates the opportunity for these candidates to have access to WWE resources including the Performance Center, training in media relations and communications, plus much more.
The first individual to take advantage of this opportunity was Gable Steveson, coming off his Olympic Gold Medal performance. He was included in the WWE Draft, being selected to the Raw brand. The announcement of the first class of NIL partnerships will come in the future.
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