Players, coaches embrace ‘Name, Image, Likeness’ era in college sports at ACC media days

Sports

North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell passes during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Boston College, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WNCN) – It is day two of the Atlantic Coastal Conference Media Days and there are a lot of conversations between coaches and players that go beyond the football field. The most notable surrounding their name, image and likeness, as well as overall ACC division changes.

The Media Days also didn’t ignore that the 2020-21 season was an unusual one for all conferences as they all battled and handled the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fans saw the ACC bring in the University of Notre Dame to its conference one season ago, an institution who normally competes as an Independent school, as its 15th conference team.

Not only were the Fighting Irish eligible for a spot in the ACC Championship game, the conference also did away with divisions in wake of the uncertainty the pandemic brought.

This year, however, with more known about COVID-19, Notre Dame is back to competing as an Independent program, and the ACC is again divided into its divisions: Coastal and Atlantic.

But, there are some concepts of last years format that coaches liked – being able to play schools outside of regularly-set divisions.

“I think I’ve been on the record of saying I would like a different rotation than what we have. I’m not saying realignment or any of those things are necessary to do that,” North Carolina State head coach Dave Doeren said. “I really don’t like the fact that I don’t get to play everybody for every seven years. Every seven years I see Duke on our schedule, or I’ll see Virginia Tech, or these teams that are close by (like) Virginia. I don’t think it’s fair to student-athletes at any of these schools.”

Regarding the Name, Image and Likeness era that is just beginning in all of college sports, most of the players seemed to be in favor of it.

University of North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell is using his platform to give back, already partnering with a charity in Chapel Hill.

But, he also is looking to benefit off the new rules that players can now profit off their game.

“I think as a student I’ll take advantage of some of the opportunities. So just trying to find way to involve my teammates as much as a I can because they’re a big reason I’m in the position I’m in so I want to give them some love as well,” Howell said.

Furthermore, Howell’s teammate, linebacker Tomon Fox, said he’s looking forward to profiting off his name, but also getting educated on how to do it responsibly.

“I’m glad that Name, Image and Likeness came to be a thing because a lot of players are able to monetize their name and their brand and the coaches are doing a great job keeping us educated and making sure we’re doing the right thing and not getting taken advantage of,” UNC linebacker Tomon Fox said.

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