In December, Aquinas College volleyball player Chloe Mitchell became the first college athlete to profit off her NIL.
During the pandemic, Mitchell became famous on TikTok for a DIY home project and started signing endorsement deals. When NIL rules took effect in the NAIA, she was able to continue making money.
Mitchell, now one of hundreds of NAIA athletes who can make money off her NIL, currently has almost 3 million followers on TikTok. She told FOS that she recently signed her biggest deal yet: Two sponsored TikTok posts that would make her $18,000.
Leading the Charge
Mitchell doesn’t just profit off her own NIL — she’s helping other NAIA athletes do it, too. She launched a company called PlayBooked, an NIL marketplace connecting athletes with companies looking for endorsers.
“Some get it right away, get to work, and get paid right away,” Mitchell said. “Others require more hand holding and NIL and athlete influencer education.”
About 450 athletes have signed up so far, half of which have already gotten deals, according to the company. And when NIL state laws take effect covering NCAA athletes, Mitchell plans to open the company up to them.
To understand how simple it is, just look at PlayBooked’s campaign with a company called Smart Cups. PlayBooked connected the company to athletes, who only had to create content talking about the company, get it approved, and post it, Mitchell explained. Then, they got paid $30 through Venmo.
“It is the easiest process in the world,” Mitchell said.
And while $30 may not sound like much, there’s no limit on how many posts athletes can make in their spare time, so the possibilities are endless. And even with a small amount, Mitchell said: “$30 pays for my groceries!”
In both her own experience or helping athletes through PlayBooked, Mitchell said she hasn’t really seen complications with how the NAIA’s rules are set up.
The hardest thing to navigate was athletes on student visas — who, as of now, can’t profit off their NIL due to immigration law, as FOS previously reported. PlayBooked also had to turn down athletic departments looking to partner, as it’s a conflict of interest to partner with departments and athletes.
Other than that, the NAIA process is smooth. So Mitchell doesn’t believe that the NCAA needs such restrictive NIL rules.
“I think that the NCAA has had their hands in the NCAA athletes’ business for far too long,” Mitchell said. “My opinion is: Leave the athletes alone.”