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WSU's Cougar Pursuit Expands to Include NIL Education

Jun 30, 2021

PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State Athletics, the most recognizable and influential collegiate athletic brand in the Evergreen State, has partnered with the WSU Center for Entrepreneurial Studies and INFLCR to expand the Cougar Pursuit initiative, which assists WSU student-athletes to fully capitalize on their Name, Image and Likeness (NIL).

In collaboration with WSU's Center for Entrepreneurship (CE) through the Carson College of Business, the Cougar Pursuit initiative will require all incoming student-athletes take the CE's five-week course on intellectual property, personal branding and marketing in a digital world, finance and contracting, and life after sports during the Summer Advantage session. The course will culminate with a personal elevator pitch. 

"The Coug experience is truly one-of-a-kind. Our environment is housed within one of the great college towns in America and fueled by the passion and loyalty of our alumni and fans," said Director of Athletics Pat Chun. "We believe our Cougar Pursuit initiative is one of the most important resources we can offer our student-athletes during their WSU experience, that will ultimately impact them for years to come. The Cougar Pursuit now includes campus partnerships, technology and education to allow our student-athletes to maximize their name, image and likeness. We are excited about the new opportunities available for our WSU student-athletes and remain steadfast in our commitment to offer the most unique and impactful student-athlete experience in the nation."

"The Center for Entrepreneurship aims to empower all WSU Cougars to become drivers of innovation in their own lives, careers and communities," said Marie Mayes, CE director. "We have a range of programming to offer student-athletes and are excited to support WSU Athletics in this endeavor."

In addition to the partnership with CE, WSU Athletics has partnered with INFLCR, a company designed to assist in getting student-athletes content and analytical data to help them build and expand their personal brands. INFLCR serves more than 80+ clients and more than 9,500 student-athletes, including representatives from every major NCAA athletics conference, with Washington State becoming the eighth Pac-12 athletic department to partner with them.  The INFLCR platform helps clients like WSU send internalized content, along with national photography content, to personalize students athletes, coaches and other brand ambassadors via the INFLCR app.

"We could not be more excited about partnering with the Washington State athletic program, as we go into the NIL era together," said INFLCR founder Jim Cavale. "We will provide WSU student-athletes with the very-best brand-building technology through INFLCR to maximize their NIL potential, but also with the very-best NIL business management software from INFLCR Verified. WSU student-athletes will receive education on all the most important NIL topics they need to know about to set up their NIL business. And through INFLCR's compliance exchange, student-athletes will be able to connect to the best marketplaces where they can sign up to monetize on their NIL. The best part is that we are going to keep WSU student-athletes safe. Through INFLCR Verified, WSU's compliance department can oversee all NIL transactions to ensure that NIL regulations are being followed. This is an exciting time, and we couldn't be more pumped to enter it with a program like Washington State."

The positive impacts of INFLCR are already in full affect at Washington State, as six selected current student-athletes in the Cougar Pursuit expansion announcement on Tuesday, June 29. Each student-athlete posted graphics onto their personal Instagram and/or Twitter accounts expressing their thoughts on how they will be able to benefit off their Name, Image and Likeness. Since those post was made on Tuesday evening, the six student-athletes have seen a combined increase of 1,107 new social media followers, and has had their post liked, shared, or retweeted a combined 5,725 times over the last 20-plus hours.

With this expansion of the Cougar Pursuit initiative, Washington State student-athletes will be given opportunities to be connected with resources on a local, national and global scale to ensure the best for their personal brand.

WHAT THEY ARE SAYING

"The Carson College of Business works across WSU to provide premier education to all WSU students who are looking to learn more about business. We are committed to delivering business training and life skills student-athletes can use both during their time here on campus and after graduation. We want to support all our student-athletes, because life after sports can entail complex financial and entrepreneurial decisions." - Chip Hunter, Carson College of Business Dean

"College athletics is undergoing a monumental shift due to a variety of factors. Within that shift, we see tremendous opportunity for WSU Athletics to continue our mission of unleashing excellence, while leveraging our unique place in the landscape of college athletics. Our approach has and always will be student-athlete centered, from our strategic plan to how we roll out our NIL initiatives. As such, we made sure our NIL announcement was focused on our student-athletes. Yesterday, our student-athletes led the way, as we amplified their voices. Within WSU Athletics, our words, but more importantly our actions, are focused on supporting their opportunities and growth." – Bryan B. Blair, WSU Deputy Athletic Director/Chief Operations Officer and Chair of the NIL Working Group

"I think Name, Image and Likeness will help me reach my goals by providing a new outlet to my full potential and opening opportunities that many people before me did not have. This is the future." – Noah Williams, WSU men's basketball junior

"I believe that Name, Image and Likeness will help me reach my goals as a growing student-athlete looking to use her name and grow a brand. I personally will be excited for this opportunity, because I have always wanted to grow my following on social media, become an influencer and share my experiences as a NCAA Division I volleyball player." – Julianna Dalton, WSU volleyball junior

"I believe the passing of Name, Image and Likeness will help me reach my goals as it will allow for me to use my platform to build more on the field, and off the field opportunities for my future. I am excited to break the barriers we as student-athletes had and seek my true potential." – Max Borghi, WSU football senior

"Name, Image and Likeness will help me spread my personal brand and message that young girls can accomplish their dreams and goals as well as become the best versions of themselves. I want to use this opportunity to inspire future generations." – Michaela Jones, WSU women's basketball redshirt junior

"Name, Image and Likeness will open many doors for me that were previously shut. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to continue sharing content on my YouTube channel, while working alongside brands and companies that align with my mission and goals." – Elyse Bennett, WSU women's soccer senior

"Being allowed to use my Name, Image and Likeness is an awesome opportunity to showcase my other interests outside of golf. Most people know me as being a student-athlete; but have no idea about my entrepreneurial passions. I have created a social app that I can't wait to share with the world. NIL gives student-athletes the opportunity to present themselves in a way that highlights how well rounded they are." – Cameron March, WSU women's golf senior

"I think that Name, Image and Likeness will give me the opportunity to expand my brand and work on some more of the skills that I will need in my future. I'm excited for what the future holds, but I'm still not exactly sure what is to come." -  Ron Stone Jr., WSU football senior

"I think Name, Image and Likeness will help me reach my goals by allowing me to have opportunities at things that I once did not have." – Ray Ray Wells Jr., WSU track and field alumni, Class of 2020