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WSU partners with brand consultant to assist student-athletes

Changes in the NCAA will allow players to profit off of their likeness, and WSU is hoping to empower their athletes to take advantage

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

The winds of change are blowing in the NCAA. In recent months, the organization in charge of major college athletics announced that they will change their rules, allowing student-athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness for the first time ever. The rule change is a big one, and Washington State is hoping to grab the bull by the horns and give their athletes the chance to take advantage of these new rules.

Earlier this week, WSU announced that they have hired brand consultant and author Jeremy Darlow to work with their student-athletes. According to the release, Darlow will “educate and assist Cougar student-athletes on building their personal brands to succeed in life beyond sports.” Washington State says they are “one of a handful of power five schools” to partner with Darlow and the first in the Pac-12 North.

The partnership will provide all nearly 500 WSU athletes with weekly video lessons that show athletes how to leverage their athletic accomplishments in success in other areas. WSU says students will be given a homework assignment as part of each lesson that goes along with their copy of Darlow’s book, The Darlow Rules.

“Jeremy’s program transcends sports and focuses on personal growth, brand development and leadership, providing our student-athletes with the tools that will benefit them well beyond their time in Pullman,” WSU Director of Athletics Pat Chun said in the release. “Learning these valuables skills from one of the nation’s leading authorities in personal brand management is another step WSU Athletics has taken to prepare our student-athletes for life after sports.”

Darlow recently joined a Zoom call with Chun and the WSU coaches to talk about his program.

“The first question I ask is, ‘if you weren’t doing this today, what would you be doing?’” Darlow says in the Zoom conference. “It’s not about sports. It’s about building something for those who take the jersey off and graduate from school. And even for those that do make it to the NBA or NFL or the WNBA, those careers don’t last forever. I want to make sure that they’re set up and they have a plan once they take their jersey off.”

The move is an interesting one for the Cougs, but it’s a good move. Since taking over at WSU, Pat Chun has always been proactive in trying to react to changes before they hit too hard. This is just the latest example of taking a rule change that could lead to confusion, and turning it into a huge positive.

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