Welcome to the Hilltopper Local Exchange

Connect and work with athletes from
Western Kentucky University
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What is the Hilltopper Local Exchange?

The Hilltopper Local Exchange is a student-athlete NIL business registry, custom-designed for businesses, donors, alumni and any other interested NIL dollars wishing to connect with WKU student-athletes. Registered businesses can search, filter and initiate conversations with student-athletes to discuss a NIL deal. Once the NIL deal between a registered business and a student-athlete is completed, the business will use the Hilltopper Local Exchange to create a transaction that will produce a direct payment to the student-athlete and automate a disclosure to the INFLCR Verified Compliance Ledger. The institution does not have to get 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.


What is Name, Image & Likeness?

As of July 1, 2021, student-athletes competing in NCAA intercollegiate athletics are permitted to receive compensation for the use of their name, image or likeness (NIL) for commercial activities, including endorsements through traditional and social media, appearances, entrepreneurial activities, in-kind deals, autographs and more, in accordance with NCAA guidelines and WKU NIL protocols.

Does the state of Kentucky have a NIL Policy?

Yes. After operating off an executive order related to NIL from the governor since July 2021, Kentucky legislature recently passed Senate Bill 6 which addresses NIL in the state. The bill was signed by Governor Beshear in March 2022. 

Does WKU have a NIL Policy?

Yes. The WKU NIL policy is available by clicking here.

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 and/or businesses to NIL-related opportunities on the Hilltopper Local Exchange.

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


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

No, but businesses will not be permitted to use university marks without purchasing and obtaining a license specifically for NIL deals with student-athletes through the athletic department. Please contact Hilltopper Sports Properties General Manager Chris Freeman at chris.freeman@hilltoppersportsproperties.com and/or Senior Associate AD Les Forsythe at les.forsythe@wku.edu for more information on licensing.

Who approves your request to register?

WKU’s NIL working group considers all registration requests for the Hilltopper Local Exchange, including representatives from communications, marketing, compliance, licensing and Learfield.

How will I know when I am approved?

You will receive an email from the institution verifying your approval. Approval times may vary on a case-by-case basis.

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.

Who can I speak with about additional questions?

For questions on Hilltopper Local Exchange, signing up your business or the process of contacting and working with student-athletes, contact Assistant Director of Communications & Student-Athlete Initiatives Dana Brown (dana.brown@wku.edu) and/or Director of Student-Athlete Career Development Collin Stoecker (collin.stoecker@wku.edu). For questions on the Kentucky and WKU NIL policies, or how to report a transaction compliantly, contact Senior Associate AD of Compliance John McCammon (john.mccammon@wku.edu). 

How do payments work within Hilltopper Local Exchange?

INFLCR uses Stripe to facilitate transactions. There are two payout methods currently available to businesses now – credit and debit card transactions and ACH transactions. ACH stands for Automated Clearing House and is a payout method most often associated with direct bank payments. More information about payment methods is available at the following link: https://goto.ps/ExchangePay

Additional Resources

State NIL Policy - Senate Bill 6

WKU NIL Policy

Hilltopper CLIMB Program

WKU Licensing

Hilltopper Sports Properties - LEARFIELD