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Monday, June 24, 2024

Thanks To NIL, College Athletes Are Now Publishing Books

  • An increasing number of college athletes are writing and publishing books in multiple different genres.
  • Some are doing so with the help of a specific NIL-focused company.
Penn State Freshman quarterback Drew Allar completes pass during college football game
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Before the NCAA changed its name, image, and likeness rules, athletes needed permission to use their name to promote their own products — including books. 

But now, an increasing number of college athletes are writing and publishing books in multiple different genres. 

Some, like Duke track and field athlete Emily Cole, are selling books that could help them with brand building. Cole, for example, published a sports nutrition book called “The Players’ Plate” — part of a package of content that she hopes she can parlay into a career in the industry.

Others, like Penn State quarterback Drew Allar, have published children’s books that will help them connect with younger fans. Allar, for example, worked with a company called Exit 56 Publishing, which was created specifically to help athletes write children’s books. With its help, Allar published a story complete with illustrations.

The company has already published three books with multiple football players from Michigan and Penn State. And while CEO Andrew Vodopia plans to keep the company at three books for now, he hopes to work with women’s sports athletes in the future. 

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Athletes probably won’t get rich off publishing books, but they are popular — especially if they’re signed. Allar’s book sold 100 signed copies in 24 hours after he posted a single tweet. (Allar has also decided he’s donating his earnings to charity).

Vodopia told Front Office Sports there are multiple intangible benefits. 

“This is them getting to do something outside their comfort zone,” he said, adding that business-related skills like networking and public speaking — which they’ll have to do in order to sell books — are valuable skills they’ll need after their playing days. 

Though he acknowledged the biggest drawback of an athlete engaging in this particular NIL activity — the time it takes. For athletes who have busy schedules and limited hours, even co-authoring a short children’s book can take more time than they have. 

But whether they love engaging with fans or want to establish themselves as an industry expert, that extra effort could be worth it.

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