Welcome to the Southern Miss To The Top Exchange

Connect and work with student-athletes from
University of Southern Mississippi
Request Access

What is Southern Miss To The Top Local Exchange?

Southern Miss To The Top Exchange is a student-athlete NIL business registry, custom-designed for businesses, donors, alumni, and any other interested NIL dollars wishing to connect with Southern Miss student athletes. Registered businesses can search, filter and initiate conversations with Southern Miss student-athletes to discuss an NIL deal. Once the NIL deal between a registered business and a Southern Miss student-athlete is completed, the business will use the Southern Miss To The Top Exchange to create a transaction that will produce a direct payment to the student-athlete (without any transaction fee) and automate a disclosure to the Southern Miss INFLCR Verified Compliance Ledger. Southern Miss and its staff will not be involved in the deal and all transactions within the local exchange  are consolidated into one 1099 at the end of the year for easier tax reporting purposes for registered businesses and athletes. 

Southern Miss Name, Image, and Likeness Compensation Policy

∙ Employees of the University of Southern Mississippi may not compensate or arrange any  compensation deals for current or prospective student-athletes related to his/her NIL ∙ Compensation must be commensurate with the market value 

∙ Student-athletes cannot be compensated for athletic performance or attendance at the  University of Southern Mississippi 

∙ Compensation may be in the form of money, goods, or services 

∙ Contracts related to NIL activities cannot extend beyond a student-athletes’ participation  in intercollegiate athletics at the University of Southern Mississippi 

∙ NIL opportunities must not conflict with academic nor team-related activities pursuant to  our policy 

∙ Use of any registered marks or logos owned and protected by the University of Southern  Mississippi is not permitted unless written permission is provided 

∙ Student-athletes must disclose NIL agreements/contracts in ARMS and INFLCR ∙ Student-athletes are permitted to obtain professional representation to assist with securing  opportunities for compensation. Representation must be limited to name, image, and  likeness and not for future professional contract negotiations.    

FAQs

What is Name, Image & Likeness?

As of July 1st, 2021, student-athletes are allowed to be compensated for the use of their name,  image, and likeness (NIL). These opportunities may include activities such as business  endorsements, selling autographs, personal appearances (e.g. speeches, commercials), promoting  their own business or social media endorsements. Below is helpful information for student athletes, supports of Southern Miss Athletics, and employees of the University of Southern  Mississippi relative to Mississippi’s NIL state law. 

Does the state of Mississippi have an NIL Policy?

Yes, Mississippi Senate Bill 2313.

Can a University employee or coach help arrange a deal for an athlete?

No. University employees, including coaches and members of the athletics department, CANNOT negotiate deals or contracts. However, they can direct student athletes to NIL related opportunities on the To The Top Exchange.

May a booster or fan enter into an agreement with a University of Southern  Mississippi (“Southern Miss”) student-athlete (“SA”) for the use of the SA’s name,  image, or likeness (“NIL”) in exchange for money, goods, or services?

Yes, subject to restrictions imposed by Mississippi law. Before entering such contract, a  SA must disclose any proposed NIL agreement to Southern Miss. 

May Southern Miss employees assist with arranging for student-athletes to utilize their NIL for compensation with businesses, etc.?

No, Southern Miss employees may not arrange for our SAs to participate in NIL  contracts or activities. Mississippi law prohibits the institution from providing SAs NIL  compensation. 

Will Southern Miss assist SAs with other NIL-related issues?

Yes, Southern Miss will have an educational program to inform and help SAs with NIL related questions. 

Are there any industries or products that student-athletes may not endorse?

Yes, Mississippi law prohibits a SA from entering into a contract for the endorsement or  promotion of: 

∙ Gambling 

∙ Sports betting 

∙ Marijuana 

∙ Tobacco 

∙ Alcohol products 

∙ Performance enhancing supplements 

∙ Adult entertainment 

∙ Any other product or service that is reasonably considered to be inconsistent with  the values or mission of the University of Southern Mississippi 

May a SA be compensated based on their performance at Southern Miss?

No. 

May a SA be compensated for their NIL when the SA is engaged in official team activities?

No. If a student-athlete is doing anything on the behalf of Southern Miss, they cannot  concurrently engage in an NIL activity. In addition, SAs cannot miss class, mandatory  academic responsibilities, or other mandatory Southern Miss activities to participate in  NIL activities.

Are there any stipulations on the length of a SA’s NIL contract?

The duration of the SA’s contract may not extend beyond the SA’s participation in  intercollegiate athletics at Southern Miss.

May SAs hire professional representation for NIL-related activities?

Yes. Per Mississippi state law, SAs can obtain professional representation for NIL related activities only. Representation cannot be for future professional contract  negotiations. Professional representation must be from persons registered as athlete  agents per the Uniform Athlete Agent Act. Attorneys who provide legal representation to  SAs must be licensed to practice law in the state of Mississippi and in good standing with  the Mississippi Bar.

Can Southern Miss marks, logos, or other intellectual property be used in a  proposed NIL contract with a Southern Miss SA?

No, Mississippi state law prohibits SAs from receiving compensation for the use of their  NIL in a way that also uses any registered or licensed marks, logos, verbiage, or designs  of Southern Miss without prior written consent. 

Are there any parameters related to how much a SA can be paid for their NIL?

Any payment received must be for work actually performed, not conditioned on athletic  performance or attendance at Southern Miss, and at a rate commensurate with their  abilities and the marketplace. 

Can international student-athletes benefit from NIL activities?

Yes. International student-athletes are covered by the NIL policy; however, they may  consider consulting with government agencies or the Southern Miss International Office  for guidance related to visa and tax implications. 

May boosters use NIL opportunities to assist Southern Miss in recruiting?

No. You cannot enter into an agreement with a student-athlete or prospective student athlete with the intention of securing their enrollment at Southern Miss. 

May boosters engage in NIL activities with high school student-athletes?

Prospective student-athletes may engage in the same types of NIL opportunities available  to current student-athletes without impacting eligibility. However, prospective student athletes should consult with the MHSAA regarding questions pertaining to high school  eligibility.

Does the school or INFLCR take any revenue from NIL transactions in the Local Exchange?

No

Do you have to be an official university licensee to register?

No, but businesses will not be permitted to use university marks without proper authorization from Southern Miss. To apply for licensing, follow these steps.

Who approves your request to register?

Typically, compliance officers designated by the institution. If you have any questions about your approval, contact the compliance office.

How will I know when I am approved?

You should receive an email from the institution verifying your approval. We don’t have specific numbers for how long it will take to get verified. Each institution works differently.

When can I start contacting athletes and processing payments?

After being approved by the school, you will be able to contact athletes and process payments in January 2022.       

Additional Resources

NIL Announcement

Southern Miss Sports Properties

Trademark Licensing

CLC