The Virginia athletics department announced it will have a full-time general manager to help student-athletes navigate name, image and likeness (NIL) deals.
The NIL manager’s position is part of Virginia’s deal with Altius Sports Partners. The firm has relationships with dozens of other schools to help navigate the changing world of NILs. U.Va announced its deal with Altius in January 2022.
Virginia’s on-site GM will also help with education, operations, and deal facilitation for colleges interested in forming NIL departments.
Brittney Whiteside will lead the GM program. She was once an executive AD and deputy AD at Virginia under current AD Carla Williams.
Williams said the Altius GM program will help students to maximize their name, image and likeness.
“Our original goal with Altius was to establish a substantive NIL program grounded in best practices and adding lasting value to the lives of our student-athletes.”
With the popularity of Virginia sports betting increasing there’s much more at stake as more money flows through U.Va’s sports programs.
The only other schools with Altius GMs on campus are:
- South Carolina
- Oklahoma State
History of NIL
Throughout much of the NCAA’s history, a full-ride scholarship was essentially the only “payment” college athletes could receive as they represent their university on the playing field.
Everything changed on June 30, 2021. That’s when the NCAA adopted interim rules for student-athletes to earn away-from-competition money from their arena-filling, nationally-televised performances. There could be some potholes on the path to athlete payments, however.
A day after the NCAA’s NIL decision, Barstool founder Dave Portnoy announced plans for Barstool Athletes Inc.
“No clue what we’re doing,” he tweeted. “No thought put into it.”
Barstool has since signed up thousands of “Barstool Athletes,” for NIL deals. Athletes can’t endorse gambling, sports betting, drugs or alcohol, but Barstool’s role as a major sportsbook brand makes the relationships problematic.
How will the Virginia NIL general manager help?
- Supporting overall NIL strategy
- Aiding in daily compliance of on-campus NIL opportunities
- Overseeing the education and support for all Virginia NIL stakeholders
Virginia’s GM will be funded by the school. The Sports Business Journal reported that Altius Sports Partners bills schools in the low six figures to advise them on NILs and student marketing.
It’s important to note Altius will not be representing Virginia student-athletes or the university. Altius also doesn’t directly secure rights or sell tickets to events. Rather, the company leverages its NIL knowledge and resources to help market student-athletes.
Recruiting resources are also offered to coaches along with NIL analysis from a national standpoint.
About Altius Sports Partners
- Altius was founded in 2020 by Casey Schwab, aformer vice president of business and legal affairs for NFL Players Inc.
- Schwab’s chairman is Oliver Luck, who formerly served as West Virginia’s AD. Luck also was the CEO and commissioner of the 2020 version of the XFL.