University of Iowa announces name, image, and likeness program for student-athletes

Soon, student-athletes will be able to profit from their own name, image and likeness with a projected start date of July 1. On Friday, the University of Iowa athletics department announced their new NIL program – FLIGHT. 

“As we navigate this new era of college athletics and Name, Image, Likeness, we are fully committed to supporting our student-athletes throughout the process,” Iowa athletic director Gary Barta said in a press release. “Our FLIGHT program equips them with the tools and knowledge to build their personal brands, allowing them to be at the forefront of NIL opportunities.”

The FLIGHT program will utilize resources from several departments at the university, and it's designed to educate student-athletes in areas such as branding, entrepreneurship, social media and more to best equip them when negotiation potential partnerships. The school has partnered with INFLCR, a company that assists universities and athletes implement NIL strategies while staying NCAA compliant. 

Related:Iowa Poll: Iowans support name, image, likeness compensation for college athletes, but split along generational lines

For coaches on staff like Kirk Ferentz, the outside help is a welcomed addition. 

“Most of us are going to be learning as we go," Ferentz said this week at his press conference. "It also appears most of us are going to be partnering up with experts. Some smart people on the outside have seen this coming, and they’ve maybe capitalized on an opportunity. I know in my case and probably our coaching staff’s case, we’re really going to be leaning on the people that understand the ins and outs of this.

“Based on my very small knowledge base here, it’s going to be a huge challenge for everybody in time management. This is going to be one more thing to try to factor in. I’ve got a feeling that it might be more attractive than a rhetoric class or Western Civilization. I’m just guessing. It’s going to be interesting. We’re all going to be learning on this one.”

More:Name, image, likeness compensation: It's a revolution, but NCAA, Congress, Iowa Legislature leave coaches, athletes in limbo

Here is more information on what exactly FLIGHT will offer to Iowa student-athletes (per Iowa's press release): 

Empower

FLIGHT empowers all Iowa student-athletes, providing them with education materials, NIL resources, up-to-date business and social media strategies, professional connections, and more. 

Educate

FLIGHT provides educational programming, including courses on branding, social media usage, entrepreneurship, networking, and finance.

Take Flight

FLIGHT equips Iowa student-athletes with the tools necessary to build their personal brands, and capitalize on their earning potential while also providing opportunities and educational experiences that will benefit them throughout their time at Iowa and in their careers inside or outside of athletics.

Kennington Smith is the new Iowa Hawkeyes beat writer for the Des Moines Register. You can connect with Kennington on Twitter @SkinnyKenny_ or email him at ksmith@gannett.com