June 15, 2021

University of Cincinnati unveils name, image and likeness plan

As Ohio inches closer to being the next state to allow all college athletes to make money off…

As Ohio inches closer to being the next state to allow all college athletes to make money off their name, image and likeness, the University of Cincinnati has proactively offered its plan.

The UC athletic department on Wednesday announced the launch of IMPACT, a comprehensive student-athlete development program designed to prepare the university’s student-athletes to positively influence their brands and platforms.

Under IMPACT, with the help of Opendorse Ready, a name, image and likeness readiness program, UC will work with Empower, a national creative media agency with headquarters in Cincinnati, to offer group educational sessions on personal-brand coaching and brand building to student-athletes.

“It’s an exciting day for us to launch IMPACT in conjunction with our new partners, Opendorse and Empower,” UC Director of Athletics John Cunningham said. “As a department, we’ve been fully supportive of the rights of our student-athletes to capitalize on their Name, Image and Likeness. This comprehensive program will allow us to put the needed education, safeguards and guardrails in place to allow our student-athletes to maximize their NIL rights.”

UC joins schools from the ACC, Big Ten and Big 12 to sign on to use the Opendorse Ready platform.

Specific programs and topics offered through Opendorse include athlete perspective, business and financial literacy, content creation, endorsements, entrepreneurship, opportunity management, social media, personal branding and more.

“We are excited to launch the IMPACT program and make it a benefit to our players and football program,” UC football coach Luke Fickell said. “As a team, we want to be the best at whatever we do and this is no different. We appreciate the administration putting together a cutting-edge solution which will educate our student-athletes and allow them to put their best foot forward in this new age of Name, Image and Likeness.”

Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell watches from the sideline in the third quarter of the Chick-fil-a Peach Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. A last-minute field goal sealed a 24-21 win for the Bulldogs, leaving the Bearcats 9-1 on the season.

Opendorse Ready provides student-athletes the opportunity to understand their NIL rights and receive hands-on assistance from experts to maximize their value while on campus, UC said. The program offers three core pillars to student-athlete success: Assessment, Education, and Performance – tailored to assist each individual athlete, according to the university.

“It’s great to see something we have spent a lot of time talking about become a reality,” Cincinnati basketball coach Wes Miller said. “A new era is starting in college athletics and it’s a great feeling to be at the head of the class with IMPACT. We have a responsibility to prepare our players for life after the University of Cincinnati and we appreciate the efforts the University and our department are putting towards this goal.”