Alcohol & The NCAA: Opening Up Pandora’s Beer Case
The classic sit-com Cheers went off the air in May of 1993, but a reboot might be in the works in South Florida. Instead of “Hey, Norm!” the new line on the campus of Florida Atlantic University is “Hey, N’Kosi!”
The FAU graduate transfer QB became the first ever college athlete to sign a Name, Image and Likeness deal with an alcohol company. Islamorada Beer Company became the first sponsors to ink a deal with a college athlete and Perry’s marketing agent Trent Robison of 1st round Management can be credited with getting the ball rolling. On this week’s episode of the “Conduct Detrimental” podcast, Perry, Robison and Jose Herrera, a representative for Islamorada all joined the show to discuss the landmark deal.
After pleasantries were exchanged, host Dan Lust asked Perry what his responsibilities were as a new brand ambassador for Islamorada.
“I’m here to promote the business and make sure they get the extra exposure they want and need. I was excited to be a part of it and to be honest, didn’t expect it to blow up the way it did” said Perry.
Perry should not be too shocked, a deal involving an alcohol company is completely unprecedented and his marketing agent Trent Robison described the new landscape of NIL deals with college athletes as
“It’s the Wild West.”
Well said Trent. A major hurdle that needed to be cleared to green-light the deal was first running it through both the athletic and compliance departments at FAU. That was done by Jose Hererra at Islamorada.
“I texted the AD at FAU around the second week of July and he said ‘yes FAU allows alcoholic deals with players over 21.’ so we hit the ground running.”
Now with the first deal launched, the sky is seemingly the limit for athletes and alcohol enterprises to collaborate across the country right? Unfortunately, for some it might not be so easy.
According to an article written by Iowa University’s campus newspaper (hawkcentral.com) only about half of the ‘Power 5’ football schools will sell alcohol during games this 2021 season. Many of whom oppose the idea cite “raucous students” and the potential for dangerous incidents upon conclusion of the games. However, with this new tycoon of NIL deals and the potential for now alcohol sponsorships to be another lucrative mule for athletes to hitch their wagons to, some schools may reverse course in order to keep bringing in top recruits. N’Kosi Perry certainly believes it will have an impact with Florida recruits.
“In the near future, I definitely think it will help with recruiting. They can make money starting in college. They don’t have to go to the bigger school or the NFL.” said Perry.
Perry makes an interesting point, now stay with me here.
A piece published by Darren Heitner of thesportsbiz.com in Oct. 2018 estimates that alcohol enterprises spend $764.5 million in sports advertising every year and nearly ⅔ of that money is focused on the NFL season. If N’Kosi Perry can represent Islamorada Beer Company, what is stopping Buffalo Bills QB Josh Allen from shotgunning a Bud Light with “Bills Mafia” and decreeing Bud Light the official beer of Bills fans. Something to keep an eye on in both the college and professional levels as.
Certainly, a lot to take in with Perry and Islamorada’s breakthrough endeavour. As one older and maybe a tad wiser gentleman (my father) reminded me, it was only 50 some years ago that the NCAA did not allow players to dunk in basketball games. Now, they are signing deals to promote alcohol consumption in their communities and getting paid for it! What will the next 50 years bring? Safe to say, things we probably can’t imagine today.