Three weeks after the Alabama Senate passed a bill allowing college athletes to receive compensation for their name, image and likeness (NIL), the University of Alabama athletics department quickly worked to provide a service to accommodate the new rules.

Alabama Athletics unveiled a new, never before seen program for student-athletes to capitalize on their own brand. They call it "The Advantage."

The purpose of The Advantage is to educate and assist athletes with their personal brands as they make their way through school, preparing them for a life of endorsements and deals after college. It will also use social media to strengthen their influence and will use assistance from external and internal entities, giving them the chance to maximize on the recent changes in the NCAA's attitude regarding NIL laws and potential future legislation.

According to a press release from Alabama Athletics, in each of the last 11 years, Alabama has ranked in the top two of generated royalties from the Collegiate Licensing Company's partner institutions and ranked No. 1 in five out of the past six seasons. The release added that from the last five years, "officially licensed Alabama product was sold in over 9,000 unique retailers, and during the last decade, over 60.3 million units of officially licensed Alabama merchandise has been sold by licensees."

After the 2020 national championship, Alabama set the record for the 48-hour post-game win of NCAA merchandise sales for all sports.

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Prior to the announcement of the new program, the University of Alabama partnered with Socialie, a rising content distribution platform, for the 2020-21 academic year.

Crimson Tide student-athletes added around 140,000 followers on their Socialie, with a total of 2,235,124 followers on both Socialie and personal media together for April, meaning the university is no stranger to assisting athletes grow their brands.

"We are excited to launch this new program, which even further demonstrates our commitment to fully developing our student-athletes," said Greg Byrne, Alabama Athletics Director. "We are blessed to have incredible resources on campus with our institution, allowing us to better fit our specific needs and evolve The Advantage, as needed."

The new program could not have come at a better time for Alabama Athletics, as recent shifts within the NCAA mean potential legislation regarding NIL will be coming sooner rather than later.

The new NIL law for the state of Alabama goes into effect on July 1 and will allow student-athletes to finally profit off of their own endorsement and sponsorship deals.

Alabama joins Florida, Colorado, New Jersey and California to allow collegiate athletes to make money off their name, image and likeness. Several student-athletes, including Jahvon Quinerly, protested the NCAA's control over their name, image and likeness during the March Madness Tournament, using the hashtag #NotNCAAProperty.

The full press release on The Advantage can be read here.

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