Boise State is gaining recognition for its effective implementation of NIL

Photo by Taya Power-Thornton

Written by: Alec Simeone & Olivia Brandon

Editor’s note: This article was updated on Friday, Feb. 16 at 11:30 a.m. to provide clarity on the projected NIL partnership valuations


Name, image and likeness (NIL), is a newly implemented concept that allows any athlete to be their own brand and make a profit off of themselves. On July 1, 2022, the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) approved the monetization of athletes and completely altered the scope of collegiate athletes from that day. 

Though huge strides have been made in the implementation of NIL, there are some drawbacks to consider as well. 

Each state dictates the NIL rules and regulations and each school has a different interpretation of them. Brands cannot utilize photographs or other documentation of an athlete wearing their company or brand unless the athlete has entered into a contractual agreement. 

Ensuring athletes have the rights to their personal brand is at the forefront of Boise State athletics, so there was no doubt as to why the University had been spotlighted for its dedication to supporting athletes in this endeavor. At the NIL Awards at the College Football Hall of Fame in 2022, Boise State took home an award for its education in establishing a brand. 

One major point of success for the Broncos in this endeavor is Boise State’s “What’s Next Program” which provides athletes with the tenets of creating a successful brand: advocacy, content and education. 

The advocacy track focuses on finding athlete’s ad campaigns or opportunities that align with the brand they’re attempting to curate. The content aspect allows student-athletes to have quality images and video, as well as access to a podcast studio. Classes are offered to educate on effective marketing strategies and content curation. 


In the Fall of 2023, Boise State created a “social media creator certificate.” Bronco Sports writes that athletic director Jerimiah Dickey believes the classes are a valuable addition to the university.

“’This online certificate program provides the flexibility of digital learning for our student-athletes, but is also open to anyone seeking skills to navigate today’s constantly changing social media landscape,” Dickey said. 

There are three classes in total, two of which are available in the fall and spring and teach student-athletes how to curate a social media presence and strategies for establishing their own brand. 


Boise State has made some of the biggest moves in NIL in the Mountain West since 2021. 

The biggest of which is the acquisition of redshirt freshman Malachi Nelson from the University of Southern California. His suspected worth from NIL is $832k, which ranks 21st in the nation.

This deal ranks 22nd in the nation, with a valuation of $832k, per ON3’s NIL top 100 list. This outranks any group of five schools (G5)  by wide margins.

The next highest valuation in the G5 is Southern Methodist UniversitySMU’s (SMU) Preston Stone who’s ranked at 51st in the nation with $630k. Though SMU is making the jump to  a Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) conference, it was is is, by technicality however as the school is upgrading to the Power Five for the 2024 season.

“The NIL space is going to need to take care of Boise State and that’s just the nature of what college football is. How Boise State football moves and is able to use that space  as a lot of other people are in college football is going to be a big deal for our success.”

Current Bronco football head coach, Spencer Danielson, was asked on national signing day how NIL and the money that Bosie State is able to provide affected this years’ class

“It didn’t impact this class, I’ll be honest,” Danielson said. “None of these guys are coming here because of what we’re paying them above somebody else … Our guys that ball out on the Blue, that do what they’re supposed to do on and off the field, and make plays for us, we’re working our tail off and we have already set up structures to help take care of them.”

Boise State has taken a, ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,’ approach to NIL, as they now are a leading school in the Group of Five (G5), if not in all of college football when it comes to name, image and likeness. 

Nelson might have the highest paycheck on the Broncos, but junior running back Ashton Jeanty is worth $535k and senior defensive lineman Ahmed Hassanein is worth $578k, according to ON3.

If you add redshirt junior Andrew Simpson’s $287k deal to the mix, these four players combine for roughly $2,232,000. To put this further into perspective, the minimum rookie contract in the NFL is set at $750,000.

Numbers like this almost seem to add a pressure similar to an NFL team being in a “championship or bust,” mode.

Regardless, it’s good to know that Boise State is doing all they can for its athletes, with the help of culture, community and coaching.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. David

    Love it. People cry and whine about NIL, and although not perfect by any stretch and indeed it will go thru many changes over the years it is HERE TO STAY. You don’t much choice but to learn to ‘play the NIL game’ like everyone else and the Boise State coach and AD are showing they’re up to the challenge to figure this out to our advantage. Props to these guys and staff!

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