Er is just under two meters tall, weighs 140 kilograms and thus fulfills the most important requirements for being an offensive lineman in America’s most popular sport. But Nouredin Nouili has a little more to offer. And that’s currently enough for a place in the squad for the University of Nebraska football team. The performance prognosis of the 20-year-old is excellent. “He’s going to be a really good player,” believes his coach Greg Austin.
Such a life is not exactly cheap. Which is why the native of Frankfurt, who played for KIT SC Engineers in Karlsruhe before moving to the United States and who as a so-called “walk-on” does not receive a scholarship, made an appeal to his German supporters on his Facebook page at the end of last month . The background: a revolutionary new rule for American college sport that abolishes amateur status. “This gives us the chance to get money through various products that we want to market,” wrote Nouili. “So if you know someone who would like to make their company bigger … let me know!”
Market value in the seven-digit range
But the hope for sources of income from home quickly burst. It was only shortly afterwards that Nouili found out that because of his student visa in the United States, very different laws apply to him. His right of residence does not include a work permit. “When I found out, I was obviously frustrated,” he told the local newspaper, the Lincoln Journal Star. “As an athlete from abroad, I could earn a decent amount of money, especially here in Nebraska.” Because the team is the biggest sporting attraction in the football-loving state. At home games it fills the Memorial Stadium on the university campus with 85,000 spectators.
In the first few days after the old amateur rules were repealed, a number of athletes announced which companies and products they would be marketing in the future. However, there is currently only speculation about the really big deals. How about what Louisiana State University gymnast Olivia Dunne will do. She has millions of fans on social media who have subscribed to her TikTok videos and Instagram photos. With the rule change on July 1, their market value shot into the seven-digit range.
New opportunities: future college footballers, here Ronnie Harrison (left) and Artavis Scott 2016, can generate their own income.
That the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), which organized the athletic competition between American universities and, with the help of television license and advertising contracts, had turned it into a money machine that makes billions of dollars every year and pays out to universities, was ready to take this step , surprised many observers.
For years the institution had tried to defend its hundred-year-old principle in expensive legal disputes. According to this, college sports are only viable and a magnet for an audience of millions as long as the active players compete against each other as flawless amateurs. All income could therefore only go to the educational institutions, even for the marketing rights of the athletes to their own names.