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International Athletes Find NIL Loophole at Battle 4 Atlantis

  • The majority of international athletes can’t participate in NIL due to student visa laws.
  • One company, Influxer, has found a loophole to help international athletes earn NIL income.
University of Kentucky guard Julius Mays celebrates with teammates on side line
Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal

Most international athletes still can’t participate in name, image, and likeness deals due to student visa laws prohibiting them from earning most types of income while in the U.S.

But one company, Influxer, has found a major loophole to help more than 30 athletes from 18 countries — from Wake Forest’s Kate Deeble to Kentucky’s Oscar Tshiebwe — earn NIL income legally.

Over the weekend, the brand set up shop at the Battle 4 Atlantis men’s and women’s basketball tournament, which took place in The Bahamas. Influxer, which charges brands a service fee for completed deals, helped athletes create content from photo and video shoots that companies can use in brand campaigns.

The key: The athletes weren’t on U.S. soil while they completed these “NIL activities” — a stipulation in most student U.S. visa laws. They can now earn “passive” income as companies purchase and use the content they created at the non-conference tournament.

Thousands of athletes are currently limited by visa rules, which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has shown no sign of changing — despite at least one organized advocacy campaign. 

For restrictions to be lifted, the department would have to change its rules, or Congress would have to pass a new law protecting international athlete NIL income.

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