What is the Federal Trade Commission and Why College Athletes Should Care

Written by Kassandra Ramsey, Esq.

· Name Image Likeness,NIL,College Athlete NIL

We are now one year into the name, image, and likeness (NIL) era. College athletes have entered a myriad of NIL deals. Social media has been a major player in the NIL era. In the early days of NIL, we saw the University of Miami quarterback D' Eriq King enter a NIL deal with the NHL's Florida Panthers. The deal included, King agreeing to post his time attending Florida Panther games on his social media accounts. Similarly, Chloe Mitchell, who is believed to be the first college athlete to engage in NIL activity, has used social media to build a following and launch her Playbooked App. The Playbooked App is an app that assist college athletes with connecting with social media sponsors.

Women's college basketball twins Haley and Hanna Cavinder have emerged as two of the NIL era's most successful college athletes. The twins, who will be transferring to the University of Miami this upcoming season, have earned over 1 million dollars via partnerships with 31 brands. Social media played a major role in their success. The twins have over 5 million followers on social media to whom they have promoted the products of the companies they have partnerships with. As can be seen, social media has a major role in this NIL era. It is no doubt that college athletes are the newest pool of social media influencers. As social media influencers, college athletes need to be aware of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the FTC's Social Media Guidelines.

What is the Federal Trade Comission?

The Federal Trade Commission is a government agency whose mission is to protect consumers and competition by preventing anticompetitive, deceptive, and unfair business practices. Basically, the FTC works to ensure that the general public can trust the advertisements for products when they see them. With the advent of social media and the continued growth of social media marketing, the FTC began working to ensure that consumers were protected from deceptive ads on social media. Accordingly, the FTC released guidelines for social media influencers entitled "Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers."

Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers

College athletes who are working with brands to recommend or endorse products need to be familiar with the "Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers" and ensure that they are compliant with them. The disclosure guide states that when endorsing a product on social media the influencer must ensure that it is made clear that the post is an endorsement of the product. It should be obvious from the post that the influencer has a relationship with the brand.

The guide also states that social media influencers are required to disclose when the influencer has a financial, employment, personal, or family relationship with a brand. All disclosures must be made easy for others to see. If an influencer post a picture, the picture should include a disclosure. Similarly, if an influencer post a video the disclosures must be made within the video not just in the description at the end. Accordinlgy, as college athletes enter the world of social media influencing it is imperative that they comply with the FTC's disclosures.

To assess your social media use or to assist current or prospective college athletes with preparing for NIL opportunities download my Social Media Audit Form. Dowloading the Social Media Audit Form will also get you access to my newsletter. For more on college athletes' name, image, and likeness rights follow me on Twitter @esquire_coach and on Instagram and TikTok @the_esquirecoach. To receive updates from The Esquire Coach Blog directly to your email please subscribe below.