UCLA Photo Credit: UCLA

NCAA student-athletes everywhere are learning how to flex their muscles in the new Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) era.

A group of UCLA student-athletes have formed a group to explore the new possibilities. The student-led Athlete Influencer Club (AIC) will help athletes build their personal brand and increase their social media followings.

According to a UCLA Bruins athletic department media release, fifth-year swimmer Aislinn Walsh founded the group.

“I started this club to create a community of individuals who share similar interests on social media and to create a judgment-free zone on something I feel like can be easily judged by our peers,” Walsh said. “I wanted to have a community where we could create together and share our success outside of athletics.”

Athletes will meet weekly to learn about personal branding and social media, attend content workshops, field trips, speaker events, photo shoots and more. While the immediate goal is helping the students in their search for lucrative NIL endorsements, the personal marketing they learn can be a critical skill down the road in job searches, networking, etc.

It might seem like every teen or 20-something is comfortable on all social media platforms, but some UCLA students downloaded TikTok the day they joined the AIC. Others already had more than 100,000 followers.

UCLA’s assistant director of NIL, Maddie Walsh, who serves as the staff liaison to the club, said the group will benefit both types of students.

“In a lot of my one-on-one meetings with student-athletes, they tell me they don’t know what to post, or they don’t have anyone to help them create content,” Walsh said. “The AIC offers that much-needed peer support and direction.”

[UCLABruins.com; Photo Credit: UCLA]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.