Continuously on the cutting edge in college athletics, Kansas Athletics has officially launched Jayhawks Ascend — a program designed to assist student-athletes in their journey of pursuing a degree from the University of Kansas.
Jayhawks Ascend will be based on four essential pillars:
- Personal Brand Management
- Name, Image and Likeness Protection
- KU Resource Engagement
- Post KU Preparedness
The program was officially introduced to KU student-athletes this week through the guidance of KU Director of Athletics, Travis Goff.
“A staple of Kansas Athletics has always been putting our student-athletes in the best position to succeed, and that is our clear intention with Jayhawks Ascend,” Goff said. “With the initialization of Name, Image and Likeness and the notoriety that comes with being a student-athlete at KU, Jayhawks Ascend will elevate our student-athletes and allow them to flourish in this new day and age in college athletics. Not only will this program assist in navigating the new NIL world, this all-encompassing educational program will help our nearly 500 student-athletes continue their pursuit of a degree while also preparing them for life after KU.”
Pillar 1 – Personal Brand Management
The personal brand management will focus on arming all student-athletes with the basic knowledge of building their profile throughout college. This will include social media training, one-on-one brand building, student-athlete assessments, digital reports, and brand identity training.
Additionally, KU will work with partners Opendorse and INFLCR to help grow the student-athlete brand. Opendorse Social and the Opendorse Ready educational platform will provide Kansas student-athletes with expert business acumen with educational sessions, consultations, monitoring activities and more. INFLCR will continue to provide a first-class content platform for student-athletes and coaches.
Pillar 2 – Name, Image and Likeness Protection
The Name, Image and Likeness Protection pillar will be centered around basic guidelines from compliance as the department navigates the transition. All Jayhawk student-athletes will receive basic compliance education throughout the entire year, while utilizing compliance services that provides a safe and secure communication channel for student-athletes. Kansas Athletics has partnered with Athliance and Opendorse Ready to assist the compliance and protection of each student-athlete.
Pillar 3 – KU Resource Engagement
KU Resource Engagement utilizes the university involvement with student-athlete Name, Image and Likeness activities including free legal services to student-athletes and courses to get entrepreneurship certificates for non-business majors.
Pillar 4 – Post KU Preparedness
The final pillar, Post KU Preparedness centers around financial literacy, tax preparation assistance, business fundamentals and professional development. It will include financial training and courses through a partnership with Meritrust, creating an LLC, marketing training and networking opportunities.
All total, Jayhawks Ascend will put student-athletes in the right situations to capitalize off their standing as University of Kansas student-athletes.
“Our guys are in a great position to benefit off their Name, Image and Likeness, and this program will put them at the forefront in this new day of college athletics,” Men’s Basketball Head Coach Bill Self said. “Our athletic department has put countless hours and planning into this and have done a great job making this program unique to the unbelievable resources we have here at KU. I’m really looking forward to seeing our team utilize this resource to the fullest ability.”
Unsurprisingly, Name, Image and Likeness has become a critical part of recruiting and Jayhawks Ascend will keep the Jayhawks at the forefront of recruiting the best student-athletes in the country.
“Jayhawks Ascend puts us in a great position to equip our student-athletes in this time of transition to Name, Image and Likeness in college athletics,” Head Football Coach Lance Leipold said. “It’s a comprehensive plan that ensures the members of our team will benefit from all of the great resources at Kansas, both during their time here and in the future. This is something we’re excited to continue to learn about and integrate into Kansas Football.”