Name, Image & Likeness Hits First Setback: Myles Brennan’s Injury and Impact

Name, Image & Likeness Hits First Setback: Myles Brennan’s Injury and Impact article feature image
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Frederick Breedon / Getty Images. Pictured: Myles Brennan.

Just last week, LSU quarterback Myles Brennan signed his fifth name, image and likeness deal, jumping into a Ford for a digital commercial for a local Baton Rouge dealership.

By Tuesday, it became a possibility that Brennan, who started two games in his LSU career, might not start one game in 2021 after injuring his arm. And, if the guy who replaces him, Max Johnson, does a good enough job, he might not ever get another start.

LSU QB Myles Brennan, who started 3 games last year, suffered left arm injury that will require surgery. "His timeline is yet to be determined,” Ed Orgeron said. "Myles has done everything we have asked of him this summer & was in the fight to be the starting quarterback at LSU.”

— Brett McMurphy (@Brett_McMurphy) August 2, 2021

Signing a deal with a star player has been the easy way around what a company had to do in the past to get college players to endorse their product — sign a deal with the athletic department. For the past month, things have gone smoothly in ambush marketing land, while many athletic directors have quietly wondered just how real some of the early numbers are.

While there has been much fanfare about college athletes being able to cash in, the average deal has been just $923, according to deals tracked by INFLCR.

That hasn’t minimized concerns from school administrators quietly wondering how much these deals threaten to devalue what they sell.

Enter Brennan.

The difference between deals companies sign with school and the ones companies have to sign with athletes is protection.

Sponsors can reduce guarantees or pay minimums with incentive clauses to protect themselves. They can’t do that with college players they sign.

Part of the agreement on name, image and likeness is that while better players — who are proven on the field or have been hyped more — will make more, what they make cannot be dependent on performance.

That means every company who signed Brennan — including Raising Canes, Smoothie King, GameCoin, and Smalls Sliders (a hamburger restaurant in Baton Rouge) — can’t reduce what they agreed to pay Brennan.

All they can do is shelve him and maybe take a shot signing Johnson.

Perhaps down the road, schools will mobilize like University of North Carolina has and help to administer a group licensing agreement, where players will be rewarded the same amounts money, but companies can still bet on players in a more spread out manner.

That has a negative side in that star players won’t be able to make the money once offered in the name of socialism.

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