Imagine a world in which every national champion in men’s and women’s basketball – football too – celebrated their swag in ways that brought money to players and allowed them to profit from their achievements.
You don’t have to imagine it after all: this world is there.
Kansas men’s basketball is poised to set the blueprint for what every national title winner in the three biggest collegiate team sports can and likely will do after every national championship game in the future. As recently reported, the Kansas players will soon embark on a statewide publicity and celebratory tour in light of the. Kansas has done things like this in the past, with its outgoing seniors, but this time it’s different. This time all players can and will enjoy their legendary achievements, names, images, likenesses and local statuses as 2022 National Champions.
Like it should be.
All the players, all 18 on the Kansas roster, should be there. Notably, this includes Most Outstanding First-Team All-American/Final Four Player Ochai Agbaji, in addition to Final Four hero David McCormack, future NBA draft pick Christian Braun and potential returning starters DaJuan. Harris Jr. and Jalen Wilson.
There’s even a website for this celebratory tour, complete with a countdown and this message: “Join us for a night of fun filled with live silent auctions and autograph signings with all 18 players. C ‘s something to celebrate as it’s only been old people on barnstorming’s previous rounds. Don’t miss the silent and live auctions taking place during the event and halftime. You won’t want to miss the chance to win some special KU player memorabilia. Come cheer on your national champions on Saturday April 23. Rock Chalk!”
They will begin by visiting a high school in Wichita, Kansas. Memories will be signed. Photos with Kansas players and giddy KU fans – young and old – will be taken. There will be a special VIP dinner and players will also participate in a skills camp for children who attend. Fans will also be able to see some live basketball as KU players will play a scrimmage for fun.
It feels like a dream experience after months and months of hard work leading to a cherished championship race. Kansas players will enjoy their title glory, while Jayhawks fans will get to experience something they will remember for the rest of their lives. Tickets will cost as low as $30 all the way up to $125.
Arguably the best part: Kansas players are collectively expected to receive 70% of ticket revenue, but many of these events will take place in the coming weeks. Additionally, for any Kansas Championship gear sold, 100% of those profits will go directly to the players. This is the platonic ideal of NIL rights in action. It’s merit-based. Kansas won the national title, now its players can reap the benefits of their labor by getting paid – and everything is allowed under name, image and likeness rules.
Kansas was also prepared for this. The school partnered with a company called 6th Man Strategies — which was started by former KU baseball player Matt Baty — in fall 2021. Kansas basketball is the biggest business in that state . There were going to be huge NIL opportunities, and Baty knew it. By winning the national title, Kansas players now have the opportunity to get out into the community, celebrate their title and earn a small cash bonus.
The world of NIL exploded with an array of individual money-making opportunities. What Kansas is doing here is a variation: it’s for the whole team. A community experience. It’s a way for everyone, from Agbaji and McCormack to extras, to capitalize on their accomplishments. A wonderful thing, and the latest example that NIL rights for players are improving the experience for college athletes.
This is only the beginning. The possibilities are vast. Expect to see Kansas’ title-touring model become the norm for national champions in years to come; it would be a wasted opportunity otherwise. To root for a college sports team is to indulge in the highs and lows of fandom. When a team wins a title, it elevates a community in many ways. Schools have always benefited from championship equipment, commemorative memorabilia and the like. They always will.
Now the players get their share.
What if Alabama won another football title in 2023? Sure, the list is much bigger, but don’t you think an army of Alabama fans around that state wouldn’t happily show up and pay to shake hands, take pictures, and bid on items CFP Title Game Auction? Sure. The same goes for any other fan base, and this is probably just the beginning. Creative minds will eventually find bigger and broader ways to rally community support and put some cash in players’ pockets after making school history.
Take your pick: UConn, Stanford or South Carolina women’s basketball; Clemson, Georgia or Ohio State football; Duke or Kentucky or Gonzaga or North Carolina or whatever team ends up winning the men’s national basketball title in 2023. It doesn’t matter the state, the school or how it’s done: everyone wants to celebrate a championship, even beyond holding a parade. All of the title-winning schools could all benefit in the future like Kansas is now. They would be stupid not to.