San Diego State has released a program called Aztec Advantage (AAP) that will help San Diego State student-athletes in any Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) opportunities. On Tuesday, SDSU released a statement about what this program provides.
The goal of the campaign, according to the release, is to ensure the university’s student-athletes have a full understanding of how to best take advantage of their NIL in four primary areas, education, empowerment, opportunities, and protection. Athletic Director John David Wicker expressed his desire of having a program for NIL at San Diego State. “ Last summer, student-athletes gained the opportunity to take advantage of their NIL. This was another positive step in our institution’s support of our student-athletes. Since then, the athletics department has developed multiple programs to support our student-athletes in their NIL opportunities. Through partnerships with Opendorse Ready and Team Altemus and support from our NIL Coordinator Michelle Meyer, our student-athletes are excited and ready to engage our San Diego community.”
On the Aztecs Advantage website, there is a section called “Empower Aztecs” where San Diego State fans, local donors, and businesses can help support San Diego State student-athletes. According to Senate Bill No. 206, the law which governs NIL agreements in California, universities are prohibited from “providing a prospective intercollegiate student-athlete with compensation in relation to the athlete’s name, image, or likeness.” This is where SDSU hopes the Aztec Advantage Program comes in. AAP creates a streamlined process and location where local businesses and fans can directly work with student-athletes to create NIL opportunities.
The Student-Athlete Empowerment is where San Diego State manages all of the NIL requests and determines if certain groups align with what the athlete believes in. This is also a place where San Diego State makes sure specific NIL’s are aligning with the athletes’ beliefs and are complying with the SDSU’s governance rules. Some things you can see in NIL’s at San Diego State are internships, commercials, autographs, merchandise, NFT’s, and many more.
Another program within Aztec Advantage is Opendorse Ready. It helps student-athletes fully exceed all of their NIL opportunities. Opendorse is built on three areas, Assessment, Education, and Performance. Opendorse educates athletes about building their personal brands, gives them access to experts on various NIL topics, and informs students on NIL best practices.
Any potential recruiting advantage created by SnapDragon Stadium could be nullified if rival schools can mobilize their fan bases more effectively in creating NIL deals for their student-athletes. Mountain West rival Boise State is angling to be a leader in the field.
Already, BSU has been recognized as one of the six nominees for The Best Institutional NIL Program Award. According to a release written by Boise State, there are goals they want to do in the NIL process. “Boise State provides a full-service in-house agency that seeks deals on behalf of student-athletes, including co-branded deals with Boise State marks and logos, and group licensing opportunities.”
On social media Tuesday, SDSU Assistant head coach Jeff Horton expressed what is at stake for SDSU as they launch AAP, “ #Aztec Nation, we need you to step up! Recruiting is our lifeline … Help us build upon our great success over the past 11 years and continue to build this program to new heights! It’s the name of the game! Anything helps- let’s build it together! Help us take that next step!” If SDSU is to raise its recruiting profile, it will need the community to partner with its players in more lucrative NIL deals. At its core, the newly launched Aztec Advantage Program is a call to action.