Now that the NCAA has taken the step to allow players to earn money off their image and likeness, it also extends down to both division II and III athletes. Some may think that for it to be profitable you have to be the quarterback at a school like Alabama or a basketball star at Duke.
However, for small schools in small towns it can be an exciting opportunity for athletes as well.
Between 2007 and 2014 Wisconsin-Whitewater won six division III football championships. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater is a school that sits in a town of just under 15,000 people. For a school that has a built a program with a legendary school and immense success, the opportunities for players on that team can be exciting.
The players can take advantage of local advertisement in which they can make a big impact in a small town. Part of playing at lower college levels is the fact that you generally play in smaller markets but afford players to be a big fish in a small pond.
This is arguably one of the best parts of college football. Being in the bubble of the school that everyone around loves. It is time to see this as an opportunity, even though it may be smaller. Though they may not be making the thousands of dollars that numerous corporate sponsors have given out to mainstay athletes, but it is still some money and exposure.
This can also be helpful for the successful programs as they try and get recruits to come to their school. If a school can show that their top players get notoriety or financial opportunities in the town they would be living in for the next four years it can be a big driver to get players to come to their school.
The biggest difference may be talent that may be deciding between playing at a lower level or being on the bottom part of a division I roster.
The move to the NIL era can be good for both the level of play and competition at the lower levels as well as the players.