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UNC launches first-ever licensing program for current NCAA athletes

The University of North Carolina has partnered with The Brandr Group to create the first-ever group-licensing program for current college athletes. As the early returns of how college athletes can profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL) continue to unfold, things are evolving quickly.

This is a possible game-change. Welcome to the future.

In a release from the university: “the innovative initiative extends new opportunities for all Tar Heels to profit from using their Name, Image and Likeness and builds on the early success of Carolina’s Alumni Group Rights program, which launched in April.”

Every current athlete at UNC will be invited to join a voluntary group licensing program. Within this program, the athletes will be able to earn money based off their NIL, while working in concurrence with the school’s official logos and trademarks. (Former UNC athletes will able to benefit, too.)

More from the release:

As part of this groundbreaking program, current Tar Heel student-athletes will have the chance to be marketed in groups of three or more within their sport or six or more across multiple sports in cobranded licensing and marketing programs with UNC’s Intellectual Property. TBG will develop licensing opportunities on behalf of the student-athletes in apparel and non-apparel categories and other co-branded sponsorships.

This would be major news, regardless of location; however, the presence of UNC and Michael Jordan are impossible to ignore. Jordan is an alum of the university. He’s also arguably the most marketed athlete in world history.

Jordan has his own apparel company: Jordan Brand, owned by Nike. The logo for Jordan Brown, which is world famous and wildly recognizable, is literally an avatar of Jordan dunking a basketball. Everyone knows the Jumpman logo.

Of course, that same logo can be found a variety of UNC uniforms and other athletics apparel. That may seem trivial to some, but it’s not. In fact, it’s an obvious selling point to future UNC athletes/recruits: “Come here, permanently wrap your name on our iconic uniforms and the Jumpman and make money while doing so.”