This past week UTSA Athletics emailed me (among others) to release the information about the new “Runners Go Bold” name/image/likeness program. On its face, it is fine.
Runners Go Bold will focus on three essential areas — Personal Branding and Brand Management, Financial Literacy, and Business Development and Entrepreneurship, with room for future growth and expansion. Student-athletes will be educated on all aspects of these critical areas and better understand their rights, responsibilities and limitations as student-athletes under any NIL-related legislation introduced this year and beyond.
Summated, it says we are going to teach our athletes how to navigate this space which fits in nicely with the larger goals of a university. Upon further thought, it highlights the strange relationship athletics has with the university. It is always part of it but not. Thousands if not millions of people are trying to be influencers, Tik Tok stars, Youtubers, and the like. Whatever this Runners Go Bold program is, it sure seems like the broader university community would benefit from it.
Runners Go Bold will provide innovative curriculum including social entrepreneurship, cash flow management, savings and investment strategies and business plan development. It will be delivered through workshop sessions provided by university and external partners, as well as through on-demand resources available through the Roadrunner Leadership and Professional Development Academy.
I’ve been around plenty of workshops and have sampled many of the wares of a given internal organization’s resource library. For me — and this is just me talking here — I cannot imagine this being more than platitudes and generic advice pushed by people with little experience and power to allow the athletic program to check the box that says “we tried to help them”.
Now, I am endlessly cynical, being a millennial and all and given my general disposition. To be absolutely clear, I hope that every single athlete — and more! see above! — are prepared with the tools necessary to handle the (possible) influx of cash that comes with being a slightly more famous and marketable student because of their athletics.