WWE announces launch of NIL program for collegiate athletes

BY ZACK HEYDORN, PWTORCH ASSISTANT EDITOR

PHOTO CREDIT: WWE

SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...

WWE announced on Thursday that it would be launching an NIL program to “provide a clear pathway from collegiate athletics to WWE.” The move comes on the heel of legislation passed this summer that allows college athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness. The program is called Next in Line.

“The WWE NIL program has the potential to be transformational to our business,” said Paul Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy and Development. “By creating partnerships with elite athletes at all levels across a wide variety of college sports, we will dramatically expand our pool of talent and create a system that readies NCAA competitors for WWE once their collegiate careers come to a close.”

Athletes involved in the program will have access to the WWE Performance Center as well as instruction from other parts of the company including brand building, media training, communications, live event promotion, creative writing, and community relations. When the program is completed, athletes may be primed for an official WWE contract.

The first Next in Line class will be announced at a later date. WWE signed Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson, who also is the defending NCAA Champion in wrestling, to a contract in which he’s still allowed to compete at the collegiate level — a contract that looks to be the prototype for WWE NIL.


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