Arrick Wilson, Sports Editor
VCU men’s and women’s basketball programs welcomed Advance, a financial literary company to assist athletes in financial planning, according to VCU Athletics.
Advance is a company that educates and consults young athletes on their NIL deals, providing them with real-world examples to enlighten athletes, according to its website.
A NIL, or “Name, Image and Likeness,” deal allows college athletes to earn and accept money off of their name or brand as a player, according to ESPN.
VCU men’s head coach Mike Rhoades said getting Advance to come to talk to players about their NIL deals was a great decision, as it will have a positive effect.
“Anytime you can bring somebody into you know, grab the attention of our players and allow them to critically think about their situation, things that they can do to better themselves and understand situations better,” Rhoades said.
Rhoades said he’s adamant about his players capitalizing on their NIL, as long as it is not going against their education.
“I tell our guys to take advantage of the NIL as best you can, but don’t let it come in the way of your education and being a part of our basketball team,” Rhoades said. “While you’re pursuing and trying to be good at both of those two things. You have a chance to capitalize on your name, image and likeness. Let’s go do it.”
Among the players in attendance was VCU sophomore guard Jayden Nunn, who said learning from Advance aided him, as his family urged him to save money.
“I like that program a lot,” Nunn said. “I ain’t going to lie, my momma and my dad be on my behind about saving money. So yeah, that helped a lot.”
Earning NIL deals has positively impacted Nunn’s personal life, letting him know that he’s appreciated without the basketball in his hands, Nunn said.
“That feels really good because it lets you know how much you are liked outside and off the court as well,” Nunn said.
During the sessions, Advance had players complete games like building paper planes and balloons simulating financial exercises, according to Nunn.
“The activities … guide us and help us, save our money,” Nunn said.
There is no set way to earn a NIL, VCU assistant athletic director for athletics communications Christopher Kowalczyk stated.
“Companies may reach out directly to student-athletes or vice versa. Our VCU Exchange is meant to assist student-athletes with those communications and opportunities,” Kowalczyk stated in an email
The NIL is a topic of heated debates, as many wonder if students should be able to earn money for being athletes. VCU head basketball coach Mike Rhoades said he is a believer in the NIL for opening up opportunities for his players.
“For them … to have an opportunity to take advantage of the situation they’re in and be able to put some money in their pocket in their bank account and help themselves and help their family. I think that’s really cool,” Rhoades said.