This interview will be on “St. Louis on the Air” over the noon hour Friday. This story will be updated after the show. You can listen live.
College athletes can now make a brand — and a buck — as the NCAA loosens restrictions governing their use of their name, image and likeness.
St. Charles native Drake Heismeyer is one of a growing number of athletes who are capitalizing on the new opportunity. In an attempt to earn money even while helping local businesses, the Mizzou offensive lineman shares his experiences at local restaurants on social media through his brand #69eatslocal.
“A lot of these local restaurants were impacted because [of] COVID,” Heismeyer said. “I thought maybe I could help them out and they can maybe help me out and we both get something in return.”
By creating his own brand, Heismeyer said, he can reign over his narrative.
“I have control over things,” he explained. “I can put out what I want [and have] people see how I want to be looked at.”
Earlier this year, Missouri became the 27th state to pass legislation allowing athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness. This legislation goes into effect Aug. 28, 2021.
Those changes on the state level (along with an adverse Supreme Court ruling) led the NCAA to ease up longtime restrictions on name, image and likeness for collegiate athletes. While awaiting a new national law from Congress, the governing body passed interim regulations suspending the old rules for all current and incoming athletes.
The NCAA holds that student athletes should follow state law when applicable, and report their activities to their school. But even athletes without a state law in place may now profit from their name, image and likeness, according to the new interim policy.
“We kind of are in a bit of what some people have termed to be the wild, wild West,” said Kameron Cox, INFLUENCE program coordinator for the University of Illinois.
Cox’s job entails advising athletes, families and businesses about how they can maximize a student’s publicity and begin their entrepreneurial future. He sees it as a new kind of real world education that can help athletes in the long run.
“Instead of considering something four or five years from now, [athletes are] thinking about how I’m going to build a brand, how I’m going to promote myself. ‘I’m learning about how to pay taxes; I’m learning about how to set up a bank account,’ right? Instead of doing that after you graduate,” he said, “we’re giving you an opportunity [to] start working on those things and thinking about those things as soon as you get to campus.”
Tune into Friday’s St. Louis on the Air to hear more about how Mizzou football player Drake Heismeyer created his brand and how the University of Illinois is helping student athletes navigate this new spotlight.
Do you support the new rules that allow NCAA athletes to profit off their name? Tweet us (@STLonAir), send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or share your thoughts via our St. Louis on the Air Facebook group, and help inform our coverage.
“St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill and Lara Hamdan. Paola Rodriguez is our production assistant. The audio engineer is Aaron Doerr.