Student-athletes at the University of Arkansas will be able to capitalize on their images and likenesses through a new program called Flagship.
This program, which will be led by the Arkansas Athletics Department, is designed to provide student-athletes with the tools to build their personal brands and earning capabilities. While led by Arkansas Athletics, the program will feature partnerships with the Walton College of Business, Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio, influencer marketing company Captiv8, and the Name, Image and Likeness company NOCAP Sports.
Arkansas Athletics is launching the Flagship in May, and 25 Razorback student-athletes will participate in a five-week program in June followed by a second group in July. This five-week program will provide the student-athletes with a foundation in entrepreneurship; Name, Image and Likeness legislation; influencer marketing and personal branding; business fundamentals; and storytelling and pitching.
“Just as we prepare and train our student-athletes to compete and succeed in the classroom and on the fields of athletics competition, we are committed to positioning them for personal success with the new opportunities associated with Name, Image and Likeness,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. “Arkansas Athletics was one of the first programs in the nation to add a senior staff position to lead those efforts and help Razorback student-athletes maximize their potential. By utilizing valuable resources within the Sam M. Walton College of Business and partnering with a variety of other industry leaders, Flagship will effectively serve our 465+ Razorback student-athletes and serve as a model for other intercollegiate athletics programs.”
The University of Arkansas has created the Office of Athlete Brand Management to oversee the Flagship program, which is led by Senior Associate Athletics Director – Athlete Brand Development & Inclusive Excellence Terry Prentice, Executive Director from the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the U of A Sarah Goforth, Marketing & Creative Services Director from the Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the U of A Cari Humphry and Senior Assistant Dean for Student-Success and Chief Student Officer at the Walton College of Business Karen Boston.
During the 2021 legislative session, the 93rd Arkansas General Assembly passed legislation that will enable Arkansas student-athletes to receive compensation for their publicity, or Name, Image and Likeness, rights.
With this legislation, student-athletes can enter into contracts to be compensated for commercial use of publicity rights without the compensation affecting their scholarship eligibility. The law prevents colleges, athletic associations, athletic conferences or other organizations from prohibiting these publicity rights.
University of Arkansas officials, including Yurachek and head football coach Sam Pittman, were vocal in their support for the legislation during the session. Both Yurachek and Pittman, as well as Arkansas State University head football coach Tom Bowen, testified during committee meetings in favor of the bill’s passage
Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed the bill into law after both the Arkansas House of Representatives and the Arkansas Senate passed it. The law is set to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2022.