LOS ANGELES — Like he does when he skirts the sideline on one of his long runs, Dorian Thompson-Robinson must step carefully when it comes to his lifestyle clothing brand.
He cannot use his high-profile status as UCLA’s starting quarterback to promote the line of “FriendsOverFans” sweatshirts, hats and other apparel that has generated more than $10,000 in merchandise sales since the end of March.
The website promoting the brand, friendsoverfans.com, shows Thompson-Robinson smiling in a black hoodie in front of the Santa Monica Pier, as if he’s just another camera-ready 20-something plucked for the part. Thompson-Robinson secured NCAA waivers to monetize his clothing brand and has sunk his profits back into the business.
On Thursday, after years of waiting and untold dollars lost, the player known for his rocket-fueled passes and whippet-fast legs will become a different sort of dual-threat quarterback.
The NCAA’s decision permitting schools in California to adopt their own policy allowing athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL) starting July 1 will provide Thompson-Robinson and every other UCLA athlete with unprecedented access to marketing opportunities. They can use their standing as a college athlete to promote whatever they want, be it a hobby unrelated to sports or their brand as a star Bruin.
“This is huge for a lot of athletes,” Thompson-Robinson said. “I know from a lot of teammates of mine,…