UCLA Athletics Launches Official NIL “Westwood Exchange” Market
UCLA student-athletes have signed name, image and likeness agreements since being cleared by the NCAA in July 2021, and sponsorships haven’t slowed down much since.
UCLA football quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson has a deal with Crocs and is a client of JAY-Z’s Roc Nation agency, his replacement Chase Griffin was named Opendorse’s NIL Male Athlete of the Year and the wide receiver Kam Brown has a deal with Mercedes-Benz. UCLA men’s basketball point guard Tyger Campbell had his own signature meals at Fat Sal’s and Honeybee Burger, and UCLA women’s football forward Reilyn Turner became the first athlete university to sign an agreement with Nike.
Now, nearly 10 months after the floodgates opened, the Bruins are taking a big step up to the upper tiers.
UCLA Athletics announced Thursday that it has launched “The Westwood Exchange,” an NIL marketplace designed to connect alumni, business owners and sponsors to student-athletes who call Westwood home. Schools that pay student-athletes directly are still not allowed under NCAA rules, and there are restrictions on how practical they can be in NIL transactions, but the Bruins are now joining other universities high level by making strides to streamline and expand the opportunity.
UCLA had worked with several third-party companies – such as INFLCR and COMPASS – to arrange NIL transactions internally, but “Westwood Exchange” marks an entry into the public market.
“We are thrilled to add Westwood Exchange to our NIL lineup,” athletic director Martin Jarmond said in a statement released by UCLA Athletics. “This streamlined process allows alumni, fans and local businesses to engage with our student-athletes like never before. Exchange gives our student-athletes direct access to Bruin Nation and vice versa. We look forward to seeing the synergy between our supporters and student-athletes moving forward.
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By adding “Westwood Exchange” as one of the largest pieces of the NIL puzzle on campus, UCLA has further expanded its “Westwood Ascent” program. “Westwood Ascent” is focused on education, branding, monitoring and disclosure regarding student-athletes and their NIL activities, and this will remain in place with the addition of “Westwood Exchange”.
Every UCLA student-athlete will be listed in the Westwood Exchange database unless they choose to opt out. Companies and individuals will be able to access this database after enrolling in the university, and all payment and tax work can also be handled through it.
The new system is described as follows on its official website:
“The Westwood Exchange is a student-athlete NIL business registry, tailor-made for businesses, donors, alumni, and any other interested NIL dollars wishing to connect with student-athletes. Registered businesses can search, screen and engage in conversations with your student-athletes to discuss a NIL agreement Once the NIL agreement is reached between a registered business and your student-athlete, the business will use Westwood Exchange to create a transaction that will produce a direct payment to the student-athlete and will automate a disclosure to the INFLCR Verified Compliance Ledger.The institution does not have to become involved in the agreement and all transactions within the Westwood Exchange are consolidated into a single 1099 at the end of the year to facilitate tax reporting for companies and registered athletes.
UCLA track and field sprinter Shae Anderson and UCLA football recruiting analyst Josh Irvin were among the first to publicly applaud the introduction of the ‘Westwood Exchange’, highlighting how it can open up even more doors to the student-athletes of each team.
“Over the past 10 months, our student-athletes have embraced the opportunity to maximize their name, image and likeness and the unique opportunities available in Los Angeles and beyond,” said Associate Athletic Director of Compliance. , Erin Adkins, in a statement. “The launch of Westwood Exchange takes us to the next level by putting NIL within easy reach of Bruins fans and student-athletes.”