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U.S. Bank program helps student-athletes navigate new NCAA rule

Dive Brief:

  • U.S. Bank is launching a financial education program aimed at student-athletes looking to capitalize on last year’s shift in NCAA policy that allows them to benefit from their name, image and likeness (NIL).

  • Created in partnership with social media marketing platform Opendorse, the Minneapolis-based bank said the new offering, called Financial Fitness, is curated specifically to help student-athletes navigate marketing, endorsements, revenue and finances in light of the new policy shift.

  • Student-athletes can access the financial education curriculum for free by creating an Opendorse account, the bank said.

Dive Insight:

The NCAA’s decision last year to remove restrictions that prevented student-athletes from profiting from NIL means college athletes have a new opportunity to cash in on sponsorship and endorsement deals.

“We hear from student-athletes that they are excited about NIL, but want help in understanding how to manage their money, and set themselves up for success,” Kaori Yamada, senior vice president of financial education strategy at U.S. Bank, said in a statement. “Through our collaboration with Opendorse, we are helping student-athletes think about where they are with their money and build their knowledge and confidence to achieve their goals, all through a digital experience that they can access anytime.”

Opendorse has more than 80,000 athletes on its platform, U.S. Bank said.

“In the first year of NIL, some of the more revealing conversations [we had] were with student-athletes that come from unbanked communities and families … who did not have a bank account to cash out from the Opendorse app,” Opendorse co-founder and CEO Blake Lawrence told Yahoo News. “That was an eye-opening experience. Financial literacy is a very real need in the market.”

U.S. Bank said the curriculum’s programming — which consists of a series of modules covering budgeting, taxes, financial planning — was developed in short-form format specifically to align with how young people engage digitally.

“Initial content rolling out this month focuses on the themes of understanding your money, how to view your money when it comes to paycheck deductions and income tax, and general budgeting,” the bank said in a statement.

U.S. Bank said it plans to advertise the offering through traditional marketing channels and social media, as well as through direct relationships with universities and colleges.

The bank, through its Student Scholarship program, claims to reach more than 50,000 students every year who are entering or are in college.

The program, which U.S. Bank launched in 2011, primarily serves students of color, according to the bank’s latest environmental, social and governance report.

Approximately 51,000 students last year completed 275,000 financial education modules with topics ranging from credit scores to savings, according to the report. The bank said it also offered students the option to participate in virtual mentoring with employee volunteers.

U.S Bank’s effort to target college athletes follows a similar move Morgan Stanley made last year.

The investment bank’s sports division, which has $100 billion under management, partnered with Altius Sports Partners last year to offer “financial literacy essentials” to student-athletes, according to CNBC.

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