Publication Date

Summer 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Lamont Williams; Emily H. Wughalter; Cole G. Armstrong


In this study, seven female collegiate athletes from three different women’s sports teams (basketball, gymnastics, and volleyball) from a mid-major, Division-I college were interviewed. The study analyzed the lived experiences that NIL has on these specific female athletes in these particular women’s sports using a qualitative methodology. Three research questions were posed:

  1. In what ways does the commercialization of college sports influence the NIL opportunities for these female athletes?
  2. Could NIL perpetuate an uneven playing field for these female athletes in competition for limited resources?
  3. To what degree do these female college athletes feel that NIL presents opportunities for equitable upward mobility (via endorsements)?
    1. The study revealed three central themes (sexualization/objectification of female athletes’ bodies, exposure tied to institutional size, and requisition of American culture and the illusion of opportunity) that provided answers to the research questions. NIL did not provide opportunities for upward mobility to these female collegiate athletes. They insinuated that NIL negatively influenced women’s sports and it promoted an uneven playing field for female athletes in competition for already limited resources.

Included in

Kinesiology Commons