TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Seminoles.com) — Apex, a comprehensive, multi-tiered program designed to empower student-athletes to capitalize on upcoming Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) legislation, has launched within FSU athletics. The program, which includes a new partnership with INFLCR, will prepare Seminole student-athletes for the Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation and Rights bill that will take effect July 1 in Florida and provide structured support throughout their entire FSU playing careers.
The program is unlike any in college athletics. It was developed through a unique educational partnership with FSU's Jim Moran Institute, the nation's first stand-alone entrepreneurship college at a public university, FSU's nationally renowned College of Business, and the Academic Center for Excellence, which will offer two for-credit academic courses that each include instruction on NIL-related topics. Apex will offer Seminole student-athletes the opportunity to elevate their social media reach by utilizing the services provided by INFLCR, an industry-leading content creation software platform supporting more than 800 teams and more than 30,000 athletes.
"I am extremely proud of the comprehensive nature of the Apex program," said FSU Vice President and Director of Athletics David Coburn. "The cornerstone principle from the start of this process was to educate our student-athletes, and education plays a central role in every aspect of Apex. We believe we are the only Power Five school in the nation that will offer two for-credit courses in NIL education. By partnering with the FSU College of Business, the Jim Moran Institute and INFLCR, we will provide a complete educational process from which our student-athletes will benefit immediately and throughout their lives."
Florida State student-athletes represent one of the most recognizable and iconic brands on and off the field with a far-reaching social media following.
· Florida State football has more followers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook than any school in the state and the second-most in the ACC with more than 1.3M combined followers.
· Both FSU basketball programs have the most Twitter followers of any school in Florida.
· FSU’s main athletic social accounts have more than 770,000 followers.
· The FSU soccer Twitter account is the most followed of any collegiate program in the country.
· The FSU golf Twitter account is #4 among all women's golf programs.
· The women's tennis account ranks #6 and the swimming & diving Twitter account is the 8th-most followed.
· Three other FSU sport’s Twitter accounts are top 15 nationally and two more rank among the top 25.
Apex's objective is to allow all 500 Seminole student-athletes to maximize Florida State's national brand and put the student-athletes in the optimal position to capitalize on the benefits of the NIL bill passed in Florida.
"Florida's Intercollegiate Athlete Compensation and Rights bill goes into effect July 1, and from day one, we will be ready to assist our student-athletes in pursuing all the rights provided to them under the law," said Coburn. "Apex is structured to allow student-athletes to maximize their NIL potential while in college and help them graduate with less debt, assist their families and prepare for the next chapter in their lives."
INFLCR's software platform will enable FSU to store, track and deliver photo and video content to student-athletes and coaches. Student-athletes and other influencers can access their personalized content in real-time via their INFLCR mobile app, where they can download and share specific content to their social media platforms. In addition to providing weekly on-demand education on NIL topics, INFLCR will empower FSU's student-athletes and coaches with the media content to engage team’s communities and build a stronger brand following. Once NIL legislation becomes effective, INFLCR will provide student-athletes with access to an NIL marketplace and facilitate in any mandatory disclosure and reporting requirements.
The program's focus goes beyond the student-athletes' collegiate careers. The two for-credit courses and the NIL education provided will lay out a road map to professional drafts, Olympic sports, graduate school, the workforce and entrepreneurism. It will facilitate student-athletes starting to build a foundation for NIL success as a freshman. Juniors and seniors will then enroll in a second credit course that will examine social media brand building, brand management, social analytics and platform best practices.
Seminole Athletics will also work with experienced experts on campus for the Apex program. Luke Hopkins, Associate Lecturer and Director, James M. Seneff Honors Program in the FSU College of Business; Lance Kerwin, Assistant Lecturer and Director, MIS Undergraduate Program and Combined Pathway Programs in the FSU College of Business; Lanny Lewis, Teach Faculty I and Entrepreneur in Residence in the Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship; and Dr. Srikant Manchiraju, Assistant Professor at Jim Moran College of Entrepreneurship, are all part of the Apex team developing and implementing the program department-wide.
This comprehensive, campus-wide approach to servicing FSU's student-athlete population ensures the Seminoles have access to experts locally and in a manner that fits the schedule of the student-athlete and not vice-versa. This approach allows the student-athlete to be the sole focus of those who are empowering them to elevate in this new college environment.