All college athletes in Nebraska will officially have at least one business offer Thursday when they can begin profiting from their name, image and likeness.
It’s from a familiar brand: Runza.
The regional food chain is offering deals to the first 100 current athletes who opt in and promote the restaurant’s rewards app to their followers on social media. The historic move marks the first time a company is offering athletes in the state an opportunity to be paid for their endorsement of a product on a broad scale.
The payment will be a single flat amount for everyone regardless of what sport they play or which in-state school they attend.
Athletes will be able to join through the so-called Opendorse Deals portal, an online marketplace established by the Lincoln-based athlete-marketing platform that individual athletes can navigate through their Opendorse profiles.
Runza said in a release it plans to use a similar approach for future promotions and fan engagement if its initial foray into NIL marketing performs well.
“This is a new and exciting era of college sports,” Becky Perrett, Runza’s director of marketing, said in a statement. “Runza has a long history of partnering with area colleges and universities for athletics sponsorships, and now, changes to the name, image and likeness policy allow our brand to directly support student-athletes.”
Long-anticipated NIL legislation takes effect for all college athletes on a national scale Thursday, ushering in myriad ways for athletes to profit financially from their notoriety through agreements with businesses or fans.
Runza has a long-standing relationship with Nebraska athletics as a sponsor, with its signature bun stuffed with cabbage and ground beef sold as a staple at sporting events.