No three words have changed the NCAA landscape in the past decade more than Name, Image and Likeness.
Former University of Miami wide receiver and Vero Beach High School quarterback Shawn O’Dare has had a close-up view on how much NIL has impacted the lives of student-athletes.
Now an NFL agent with Rosenhaus Sports Representation, O’Dare represents several of the Hurricanes top players such as star quarterback Tyler Van Dyke and starting edge rusher Jahfari Harvey.
O’Dare spoke to the USA Today Florida Network about NIL, representing college athletes and his thoughts on if high school athletes should be able to profit from their name, image and likeness.
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Q: As far as NIL opportunities go, how much have things changed for Tyler Van Dyke in the past year?
A: A lot. Considering that when I signed him when he was a backup quarterback and all the hype last year was around D’Eriq King. Tyler’s first deal was with a podcast called The Orange Bowl Boys. Then, when he started playing and taking off, that’s when the NIL stuff took off. And then it was a lot this offseason with all the mock drafts projecting him as a first-round pick. His value has gone up a lot.
Q: How much more selective is Tyler being with the deals he takes now?
A: We’re being much more selective. We don’t want him to take every single deal and devalue his brand. Even signing-wise, his autograph commands a certain value at this point. The deals we take have to align with his values and make sense financially and time wise to not interfere with his academics and athletics. We’re being much more selective.
Q: Obviously there’s a “right” answer as his agent, but are you surprised at the success Tyler has had?
A: I believed in him from the start. He just wasn’t getting the hype that other guys get. He was an extremely highly-ranked, four-star recruit as a senior in Connecticut. If he’s in Florida or Texas, he’s a five-star kid. He attended the Elite 11 as well. It was really only a matter of time before he got his opportunity, so I’m not surprised at all.
Q: Who are some of the other college players you’re representing?
A: Jahfari Harvey, who’s also a Vero Beach graduate. Elijah Arroyo is a four-star tight end who is going to have a big year. Xavier Restrepo, another four-star, who is going to be the starting slot receiver this year. He went to Deerfield Beach. Cyrus Moss, Miami's highest ranked recruit from their 2022 class is a freshman from Vegas who came in this year.
Q: How much has being a former Miami player has helped you when it comes to representing current players?
A: It's massive. I wouldn’t be in the position I’m in if I didn’t attend the University of Miami. And it’s not only the player relationships, but also the relationships with coaches who are moving up the ranks — both in college and the NFL — and the executives. It was invaluable that I attended the University of Miami and played there.
Q. How much has NIL changed in the past 12 months?
A: I think it’s become a lot more organized. I think companies are starting to see a little ROI (return on investment) because there were no case studies for the first three months. Now, companies are starting to feel more comfortable. You’re starting to see more group licensing opportunities with jersey sales, trading cards, and next year as well with the new EA Sports college football game coming out. Guys will be getting a check just for being in the game.
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Q. Do you wish NIL was around when you played?
A: I think it would have been great. I don’t think I would have made much, but a lot of my teammates would have. Yeah, they’re getting college tuition paid for but what they get paid from NIL gives them a head start for whatever’s next in life. I wish it was always in effect.
Q: It used to be that you couldn’t talk to a player until after their last college game. How much has NIL changed how you do things?
A: It pushed up our timeline significantly. And in certain states, like California, high school players are allowed to profit from their name, image and likeness. It used to be that you weren’t allowed to speak to a player until after their last game. Now, you can be their marketing representative. I think it’s great. It doesn’t rush these guys. We can start building those relationships in college. It’s great and it’s warranted. You have agents who have been doing this for a long time, who already know marketing companies and have those relationships who can help players while they’re in college.
Q: You mentioned some states allowing high school players to have NIL deals. Are you working with any high school players?
A: I haven’t done that. I’ve only represented guys who are in college or are getting into college.
Q: When are you allowed to talk to a player about representing them?
A: Once the athlete is enrolled at the university, you can start to have those conversations and become their NIL representative/marketing agent. They have to be enrolled first.
Q: High school athletes in California can profit from their Name, Image and Likeness, but high school athletes in Florida cannot. What’s your personal feelings on NIL deals for high school athletes?
A: I think if these kids can make money in high school then they should. Every other student can do so if they’re not an athlete, so why not an athlete? There’s no guarantee you’re going to play in college. Every down can be the last. If you can make money while you play it, why not do it? I think it’s great for the athletes.
Q: Businessman John Ruiz has drawn a lot of attention for his NIL deals with Miami athletes. What are your thoughts on what he’s done?
A: The reason Miami is at the top of the NIL charts is because of John Ruiz and Life Wallet. It’s certainly been a huge advantage for us. He is a booster who is marketing his company and paying athletes and he does everything correctly. They have to go in and shoot commercials. They have to do a certain number of social media posts each month. John’s done everything through the compliance department. He’s done it the right way and he’s done it at an elite level.
Q: Talk a little bit about The Shawn O’Dare Foundation. You had some of the guys you represent as instructors at your football camp in July.
A: I remember going to Kenny Holmes’ celebrity basketball game when I was 10. He had Daunte Culpepper and Warren Sapp and all those guys there and it made an impact on me. I wanted to do that for kids in Indian River now. Tyler was there. Jahfari was there; Elijah and Xavier too. Some NFL guys like Stephen Morris, Trent Harris, Alex Wright and Kenny Homes were there to kind of bring things full circle. Without NIL, that wouldn’t have been able to happen, and the college players wouldn’t have been able to attend. Around 100 kids got the opportunity to meet these guys and learn from them, and that memory will last a lifetime just like it did for me when I was 10. It was a special event for our community and me personally. I named the foundation after my uncle, who I’m named after. He was a firefighter in Miami who selflessly gave his life while saving a drowning girl. He’s a hero and I wanted to honor him and leave a lasting legacy. This foundation will directly impact the lives of many children and families in the Indian River County area. We will aim to give every child an even playing field to accomplish all their academic and athletic goals. We will be providing scholarships, tutoring, meals, equipment, coaching and training amongst other things. No child should be at a disadvantage for reasons that are out of their control.
For more information on the Shawn O'Dare Foundation, go to shawnodare.foundation.
Jon Santucci is the statewide football recruiting reporter for the USA Today Florida Network. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared on Palm Beach Post: Miami QB Tyler Van Dyke's agent on NIL and its future in college sports