Duke’s Mayo Bowl has entered the NIL chat

Duke’s Mayo Bowl has entered the NIL chat

Photo: courtesy Charlotte Sports Foundation

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Charlotte’s bowl game will look different this year. On the field, the winning head coach will be doused in Duke’s Mayo instead of a sports drink. Off the field, the Duke’s Mayo Bowl will be among several bowl games across the country taking advantage of this year’s name, image and likeness (NIL) legislation.

Details: North Carolina and South Carolina kickoff at 11:30am on Dec. 30 at Bank of America Stadium. ESPN will broadcast the game.

Driving the news: The Charlotte Sports Foundation, which operates the Duke’s Mayo Bowl partnered with Opendorse, an NIL platform.

  • Both Gamecocks and Tar Heels will have a chance to promote the bowl game, with an ambassador named from the winning team who will be offered a $5,000 contract to promote the bowl into the offseason.
  • Opendorse is working other bowls, including the Holiday Bowl, LA Bowl, Pinstripe Bowl and Independence Bowl.

Why it matters: It’s new territory for bowls and college athletes.

  • North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper signed an executive order allowing for NIL on July 2, following the NCAA v. Alston case, which struck down NCAA restrictions on student-athlete compensation.
  • Players have previously opted out of bowl games to prepare for the NFL draft, but new NIL rules may make playing worth staying.

The big picture: Student athletes are finally getting paid, and bowls have a new means of marketing. 

  • Opendorse’s Michael Zoerb, who is leading their Bowl Game initiative, told Axios they step into the middle ground for bowls, helping them connect with athletes to promote their game.
  • “If you think about it, from the bowl’s perspective, that can seem challenging,” Zoerb said. The concept sounds great, but where do you start if you’ve never done this before?”
  • “How do I do it?,” Zoerb asked. “How do I find the athlete? How do I get him to do the thing I need him to do? How do I pay him to do it? That’s where Opendorse comes in.”

What they’re saying: “By engaging the third party [Opendorse], we felt like it was a way we could enter the space, have fun with it and provide a platform for players to talk about their experience at the Duke’s Mayo Bowl,” Charlotte Sports Foundation executive director Danny Morrison told Axios.

  • Morrison also said they’re undecided about adding this to the Duke’s Mayo Classic to kick off the season in 2022.

Between the lines: While NIL may be new for college students, professional athletes have taken advantage of it for years.

  • “NIL is new to college, but it’s not new to the athletic space,” Zoerb said. “…[I]t’s just allowing a new group of athletes to take advantage of being able to maximize and monetize their name recognition.”

For a cause: Getting a celebratory mayo bath means a $10,000 from the Charlotte Sports Foundation to the winning coach’s charity of choice.

Worthy of your time: Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick led Myers Park High to an undefeated season in the mid 1960s, earned All-America recognition, but he was kept out of the Shrine Bowl because he was Black. Now his legacy lives on with an award.

  • Axios’ Michael Graff reported the Jimmie Lee Kirkpatrick Award will be given annually to a Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools senior football player who “displays talent both on the field and a passion for their community.”
  • Morrison told Axios they modeled it after the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, recognizing a student from each of the 19 public high schools.
  • The winner will receive a $10,000 scholarship.

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