Starting this summer, the New York Times reports, the University of Missouri began employing some Missouri students, as “Social Influencers,” to generate online postings encouraging other students to engage in Covid-safe behaviors.
The school is paying those ‘Influencer’ students to use their Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights, for the school’s benefit.
Contrast this with the school’s policies regarding football and basketball players. Rather than paying those players for the school’s repeated use of the player’s (extraordinarily-valuable) NIL rights — in TV broadcasts, and advertising-related activity for Nike and others — the school requires that players surrender those rights, without pay, by signing them over to the school, with a form waiver-document drafted by the school (or conference). The school and conference arbitrarily seize the player’s NIL rights.
Missouri Football Players All Have a Job: Social Influencers for Outside Businesses
The irony is that, for years, every Missouri football player has operated as a Social Influencer, on a grand scale, but without pay. Those players may think that they are playing just to win, or excel. But Nike, and TV advertisers like Geico, State Farm, Tostitos (the list is endless) annually pay Missouri millions, to get the school to use players as Social Influencers — to “influence” live and TV viewers to purchase commercial products.
(And imagine, for a moment, if Missouri paid starting quarterback Shawn Robinson, or the entire starting 22 offensive and defensive players, as Social Influencers, to promote Covid-safe student behavior: do you think that might have some thumping state-wide impact?)