Gonzaga Athletics implements name, image and likeness program for student-athletes

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Baylor forward Flo Thamba is fouled by Gonzaga forward Anton Watson (22) while driving to the basket during the second half of the championship game in the men's Final Four NCAA college basketball tournament, Monday, April 5, 2021, at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

SPOKANE, Wash.— Gonzaga Athletics introduced the creation of its “Next Level” Name Image and Likeness (NIL) program Thursday afternoon.

The program is intended to provide GU student-athletes the education and resources necessary to build their personal brands and prepare for the NIL era.

“Next Level” looks to emphasize five key areas: personal brand management, financial literacy, business and entrepreneurship, social media, and NIL legislation. Working with campus partners and outside organizations like INFLCR, the leader in athlete brand-building, it works to help student-athletes take advantage of their name, image and likeness for their own benefit.

INFLCR serves more than 1,000 college athletic teams with 40,000 daily users to help access information from various college athletic activities, including practice, competition and travel.

“With the NIL opportunities coming in the near future, I am excited that we are giving student-athletes a real chance to build their brands,” GU Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mark Few said. “I’ve been a big believer in the NIL movement, and I’m proud that we can start helping our players capitalize on their potential.”

The GU basketball programs are coming off a historical program. The men’s team had its second NCAA championship appearance in school history, headlined by a thrilling 93-90 win against UCLA in the Final Four, reaching a peak of 18.8 million viewers. The Few-led Zags reached the No. 2 ranking in total social media engagement in the country after their tournament run.

The women’s team came off their fifth straight West Coast Conference (WCC) regular season title and reached its highest national ranking in school history, getting the No. 10 ranking from the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll. The program also made its 12th NCAA Tournament appearance in school history last year.

The basketball programs will have individualized education in Next Level’s five areas of focus to help reach their maximum potential of capitalizing their national scale.

“This moment is an important one for our student-athletes,” Gonzaga Director of Athletics Mike Roth said. “It’s exciting that we can empower them with the NIL legislation. Our Next Level program will be a great tool to educate the student-athletes.”