money bag with coins

Money bag

Money bag” or as some collegiate sports fans call it “getting your bag” describes one of the newest side hustles which is sure to continue carrying momentum going into 2023.  

what does money bag mean?

NIL reference to Money Bag(s)

NIL aka “Name, Image and Likeness” is a reference to a new way for amateur athletes to monetize their personal brand. Until rule changes that were enacted July 1, 2021, collegiate athletes had been unable to earn compensation for activities they undertook off the court or playing field.  

The reference to money bags or getting your bag pre-dates enactment of NIL rights and refers to an illicit practice whereby high school recruits were being enticed by wealthy boosters of various collegiate institutions across the country to come and play for their athletic program in exchange for cash. Often leaving the money in brown bags in secret drop locations so that the contributions remained untraceable and unattributed to the boosters or the school. 

Stories such as this one out of the University of Tennessee is a recent example of such brown money bag giving, though this story seems much tamer than what I envision goes on mostly with this practice. And in some cases, the gut-wrenching stories of the athlete’s families tugs at your heart strings and almost makes the practice feel justifiable.

4 ways Collegiate Athlete’s can get paid in 2023

how to make money in college sports

Nowadays, while I don’t doubt that practice still lives on, collegiate NIL is a new form of “getting your bag” that if done properly is completely above board and doesn’t risk having an athlete’s scholarship or amateur status revoked. There are numerous platforms such as Dreamfield and agencies that assist athletes with finding, creating and in some cases negotiating personal brand monetization all in a fully compliant way.  As for the activities themself here are a list of four ways an athlete can perfect their NIL side hustle:

Sponsorship deals: An abundance of corporate sponsorship and endorsement opportunities are finding their way into the inbox or social media DM’s of athletes from influencer marketing companies or directly from brands themselves.  Athletes can also hire agencies who can go seek out these opportunities on their behalf as well.

Appearances: Student athletes are checking their local NIL marketplaces to learn more about one-off or repeat appearance opportunities, whether it be for the grand opening of a local business or something as personal as a birthday party or even a child’s bar or bat mitzvah.

Coaching or mentoring:  Whether it’s the Quarterback of your hometown team running a spring training or kid’s summer camp or your graduate assistant, coach or other staff member holding workshops and mock drills, this is a wonderful time tested way to make extra cash and now for athletes to participate in NIL.

Autograph signing: This one often goes hand-in-hand with appearances, but an athlete would be wise not to short-change themself when making an appearance and charge the business who is booking them to provide an autograph session to the customers and public attending the events.  Consider even negotiating a per article fee or a profit sharing arrangement if appropriate.

Bear in mind that exactly how a student athlete “gets their bag” in 2023 will depend on their state laws as well as rules and regulations of their institution.  Student athletes should be careful to avoid ethical issues and conflicts of interest that may arise while monetizing their NIL. If you are a college athlete and looking for other side hustles, or even money bag sketch ideas, make sure you check out our other articles!

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