By: Gavin Dwyer, Senior Editor
Myles Brennan created waves throughout the collegiate football world when he announced his retirement on August 15, 2022. However, the waves were not related to his on-field performance, nor how his retirement would affect the LSU Tiger’s season. Instead, the media focused the spotlight on the name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals he signed while part of the LSU football program. NIL deals allow individuals to profit from their likeness through sponsorships, paid advertising, or other licensing deals.
Brennan signed NIL deals with a variety of companies such as Raising Canes, Smoothie King, GameCoin, Smalls Sliders, and Hollingsford Richards Ford.
Members of the media, such as Darren Rovell of the ACTION NETWORK, pontificated how Brennan’s early retirement may slow NIL deals across the college football landscape. Rovell pontificates that “Brennan would have still been able to keep the money if, five days after he signed all the deals, he left LSU.”
However, this is not necessarily true. Rovell is correct in saying the NIL deals cannot be predicated around Brennan playing for LSU or any performance incentive bonuses. However, just because Brennan signed these deals does not mean he automatically gets all his NIL money he contracted for.
Like any other contract, payment is not required if performance is not completed. Therefore, Brennan keeps the money from any NIL deals where he completed his contractual obligations. However, if Brennan signed NIL deals based upon future endorsements that he did not fulfill, he would not see that money.
Additionally, Louisiana and LSU provide protections to those contracting for the use of collegiate athletes’ NIL rights. Both Louisiana law and LSU NIL policy state contracts for collegiate athletes’ NIL rights shall not extend beyond their participation in an athletic program. Therefore, after Brennan left the program he relinquished all future compensation he could earn under his current NIL deals.
Without being privy to Brennan’s contracts and the language contained within each of them, it is impossible to say what money he will keep and what money he will never see. In any event, the retirement of Brennan is unlikely to affect the growth NIL deals at any substantial rate like Rovell claims.
According to On3, Brennan had an NIL valuation of $327,000, ranking 112th among all collegiate football players. This is a drop in the bucket when you look across the NCAA and see that players like Jaden Rashada allegedly signed an NIL deal worth $9.5 million. Until a major deal like that is affected by retirement, there will be no measurable impact on NIL deals in college athletics.
Since NCAA v. Alston, NIL deals have allowed collegiate athletes to profit from their own NIL rights. They finally get a sliver of the billion dollar enterprise they devote years of their lives to. Brennan’s retirement will not slow the growth and expansion of this new arena. Attorneys will likely carefully draft these agreements in such a way where all the compensation is not due up front if the contract is likely to extend for multiple seasons or endorsements.
Brennan’s situation should not be viewed as a cautionary tale to entities contracting to use collegiate athletes NIL rights. Instead it should be viewed as a success of Alston, finally allowing athletes who will never get a paycheck professionally to profit off of their dedication and participation in a billion dollar arena.
Sen. Bill. SB60, 2021 Reg. Sess. (La. 2021). https://legiscan.com/LA/text/SB60/2021