For the first time, college athletes on Thursday were allowed to start making money from their fame without the risk of being kicked off the team or losing eligibility.
They can now profit from their name, image and likeness – or NIL. They can promote a product on social media, be on commercials or sign autographs all for money.
One of the first deals involved a pair of twins who play basketball for Fresno State. They have millions of social media followers and signed to promote Boost Mobile.
Cal senior safety Elijah Hicks hopes to sign something, too, but also hopes it'll boost his nonprofit work.
"It’s really important, I think, for student-athletes to learn what do they really care about and find things that align with their values and interests," he said.
He was part of the NIL working group at Cal, which has set up the Golden program to help student-athletes looking to navigate the uncharted territory of NIL endorsements.
"Financial literacy becomes really important," Hicks said. "You got to learn how to deal with money, how to ask for partnerships, and I think that’s what’s really cool about this."
Stanford has a similar program called Cardinal Connect.
For many, the move is long overdue.
"I think that it was past time for our student-athletes to be able to go out and garner what they’re worth," said Dr. Shaun Fletcher, San Jose State University assistant professor of public relations and sport communications.
Schools still can't pay the athletes directly.