Northeastern athletics adapt to NCAA’s NIL rule changes


Matthew Modoono

Former Men’s Hockey head coach, Jim Madigan will be Northeastern’s new athletic director.

Peyton Doyle, deputy sports editor

In June, Northeastern University athletic director Jeff Konya parted ways with the school, marking the end of a 10-year relationship where Northeastern claimed over a dozen CAA championships across its 16 varsity sports, including its first-ever CAA baseball title in 2021


Konya, who departed from the Huskies to become the new athletic director for San Jose State University, also helped build a relationship with the NU Black Athlete Caucus and saw NU student athletes earn at least a 3.0 GPA for 27 straight semesters


Northeastern University announced June 17 men’s ice hockey head coach Jim Madigan will be the school’s next athletic director.


On July 1, mere weeks after Madigan’s announcement, the NCAA enacted new rules regarding a student athlete’s ability to market their “name, image and likeness,” or NIL.


It was a monumental shift by the NCAA’s leadership who have reigned with an iron fist with regards to the compensation of the college students who play under its watch. The new rule changes allow student athletes to partner with different sponsors, market themselves and make money through college sports, something that had been, for all intents and purposes, forbidden for years. 


Northeastern may not have quite the same caliber of stars that larger football schools like the University of Alabama do, where incoming freshman and quarterback Bryce Young has potential to make over a million dollars from sponsorship deals, but it still has athletes who are looking to take advantage of the new NIL rules. 


In an interview with the News, Madigan said that some athletes have discussed their prospects with his department. He made it clear that Northeastern’s duty was not to dictate what its athletes should do with these new rule changes, but rather to help guide them if they have questions.


“Several Northeastern athletes have already approached us and talked about building their personal brand,” Madigan said. “Our job in the athletic department is not to find them sponsorships, but to educate them and help them on how to properly build their brand in an image that they want to.”


To help facilitate the growth of their athletes’ brands, Madigan announced Aug. 24, that the university would be partnering with the company INFLCR. INFLCR is a company designed to help promote student athletes and provide them with tools that they can use to market themselves. 


Madigan said, “We are ecstatic to team up with INFLCR and help further educate and increase the branding platform for Northeastern student-athletes. INFLCR is the nationwide leader in athlete brand-building and we are excited to provide this service to our student-athletes.”


However, Madigan said students have to be selective with how they use the tools and who they choose to align themselves with. Northeastern, like many other schools, already has their own sponsors and partners for many of their sports teams.


“We do not tell them who they should partner with, but like many other institutions we have deals for apparel or say, basketballs, that cannot really overlap with personal brands,” Madigan said. “Northeastern is not alone in this, most institutions have their partners and will have some restrictions on what kinds of companies their athletes can partner with.”


Beyond the institution’s partners, however, Madigan said athletes are free to market themselves how they desire and partner with who they prefer, as long as it is in an appropriate manner. At other schools, students have teamed up with a variety of brands, from Auburn quarterback Bo Nix and his deal with Milo’s Tea to Fresno State’s basketball players Hanna and Haley Cavinder’s agreement with Boost Mobile. Some athletes are creating their own trademarked logos and nicknames like Wisconsin Badgers quarterback Graham Mertz.


The NCAA’s rule changes are still young, and athletes are barely a month into their promotion of NIL and learning how to wield this newfound power. Northeastern athletes are no different. 


According to Madigan, a few students have already come forward and presented their interest in growing their brands to the athletic department. While this could present itself as a challenge for Madigan and his new team, it also allows him to leave his mark on Northeastern athletics as he begins his new position and help guide his students as they too venture into this unknown world of student-athlete marketing.