Texas Athletics announces LEVERAGE program to build student-athlete brands

Myah Taylor

Texas Athletics will launch LEVERAGE, a new program dedicated to helping Longhorn student-athletes maximize their brand potentials and make use of their names, images and likenesses, according to a statement Monday morning.

“Texas is a land of opportunity, Austin is a thriving, dynamic and energetic city right in the middle of it, and The University of Texas is like none other,” Texas Athletics Director Chris Del Conte said in the statement. “All of those factors, along with the national and worldwide power of the Longhorn brand are among the many things that will be key elements in our exciting new LEVERAGE program.” 

Del Conte said the program will play a crucial role in helping student-athletes grow and capitalize off their brands. LEVERAGE will focus on personal branding and brand management, business formation and entrepreneurship, opportunity management and financial literacy, according to the statement.

This news comes nearly a year after the NCAA unanimously voted last October to begin altering rules that prohibited student-athletes from profiting off their names, images and likenesses. Since then, the conversation surrounding athlete compensation has continued.

According to data published in May by Axios based on estimates from Opendorse, a platform where athletes can build their brands, senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger and junior center Charli Collier could potentially earn thousands of dollars from their social media posts.

Texas has the most Twitter interactions compared to other collegiate athletics accounts, and it has seen a 167% increase in Instagram followers since 2018, according to the statement. Including Facebook, the statement says the Longhorns have one of the top followings with an audience of over 1.5 million.

Texas’ social media presence, Austin’s market value and University resources should set Longhorn student-athletes up for success, football head coach Tom Herman said in the statement.

“When it comes to exposure, visibility, valuable connections and a broad and far-reaching network, Texas has all of that,” Herman said. “With the (name, image and likeness) opportunities coming in the near future, the establishment of the LEVERAGE program is a personal development area where we will provide unmatched resources when it comes to building our players’ brands. ”