Thursday is a huge day in the future of college athletics. It is, of course, the day that new name, image and likeness rules go into effect within certain states that will allow college athletes to market themselves and legally make money off of their athletic ability and notoriety. Players across the nation have taken notice, and one star quarterback has his own logo ready to go on July 1.
Graham Mertz, the starting quarterback for Big Ten West power Wisconsin, released a video on his Twitter page that includes his very own trademarked logo built around his initials. The logo looks similar to the one used by professional golfer Tiger Woods.
Wisconsin announced earlier this month that it has partnered with Opendorse to launch the YouDub program, which is designed to help players capitalize on their name, image and likeness. The program is designed to help student-athlete assessment, education and brand development. Those include seminars with industry leaders in brand development, financial literacy and social media monetization.
“College athletics is entering a new era and we are excited to embrace the opportunities that will come with changes in student-athletes’ name, image and likeness rights,” deputy athletic director Chris McIntosh said in a release earlier this month. “At our core, we exist to prepare student-athletes. Our approach to preparing them for success in the NIL arena will be no different than our commitment to setting them up for success on the field of play, in the classroom and in life beyond their time at UW. Partnering our outstanding staff with Opendorse, the industry leader, provides our student-athletes with tremendous educational and brand-building resources to grow their opportunities and maximize their potential in terms of NIL.”
Mertz will likely be one of the most marketable athletes in the Big Ten. The starter at Wisconsin, which is known for its ultra-passionate fanbase, threw for 1,238 yards and nine touchdowns in seven games last season despite the Badgers having massive COVID-19 issues throughout the season.
Several states have passed laws that will go into effect on July 1, which is also the date that the NCAA is targeting to put temporary measures in place for all member institutions.