Michigan basketball's Adrien Nunez releases merchandise as NIL policies go into effect

·2 min read

Adrien Nunez is uniquely positioned to profit off the NCAA's new name, image and likeness policy.

And the Michigan basketball player is wasting zero time in doing so.

Nunez, who has 1.6 million followers on TikTok and is the most followed Michigan basketball player on Instagram with at least 110,000 followers, released a line of merchandise on Thursday, the first day that college athletes are allowed to be compensated for their names, images and likenesses.

Shortly after the release of his merchandise, Nunez took to TikTok to post a celebratory video.

Nunez's merchandise is being sold at a website bearing his name; currently, there are three different T-shirt designs that are retailing for $29.99 (not including any additional shipping charges).

The merchandise falls under the purview of the university's NIL policy, which allows for certain activities for athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness. According to that same policy, Nunez is not allowed to use "the University name, trademarks, service marks, logos, symbols, or any other intellectual property, whether registered or not, without appropriate licensing approval."

Michigan guard Adrien Nunez makes a jump shot against Minnesota center Sam Freeman during the second half at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.
Michigan guard Adrien Nunez makes a jump shot against Minnesota center Sam Freeman during the second half at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021.

On Monday, the NCAA Division I Council recommended the NCAA "suspend amateurism rules" relating to the ability to profit off name, image and likeness; Wednesday, those proposals were approved, meaning college athletes can now receive compensation for endorsements, autographs or the usage of their social media accounts — a gigantic change from the rules that were previously in place.

The NCAA's policy changes came after numerous states passed legislation with July 1 start dates; there is currently no unifying federal legislation.

For now, U-M is following its own NIL policy, as the NIL bill signed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will not go into effect until Dec. 31, 2022. The NCAA has lumped schools in states where legislation has yet to go into effect with schools in states without NIL legislation, allowing these universities to develop their own protocols, with the NCAA saying it will sustain "prohibitions on pay-for-play and improper recruiting inducements."

Nunez is the type of athlete who could stand to benefit the most from the NCAA's new NIL policies. Over the past year-and-a-half, he has steadily amassed a huge following through TikTok. Nunez has scored just 53 points through the first three seasons of his college basketball career.

According to an article from Axios this past March, Nunez was the seventh-most followed player among teams that reached the Elite Eight of the men's and women's NCAA tournaments — and that count did not include his TikTok followers.

And because of those followers, Nunez could be in store to capitalize on many more NIL opportunities.

Contact Orion Sang at osang@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @orion_sang. Read more on the Michigan Wolverines and sign up for our Wolverines newsletter. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here's how you can gain access to our most exclusive Michigan Wolverines content.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan basketball's Adrien Nunez has merchandise on market