WWE has announced the launch of a new program to create a "clear pathway" from college athletics to WWE.
It was announced today that WWE has established an NIL program for college athletes. NIL deals allow athletes to profit off of their name, image, and likeness while still in college. The first NIL deal in WWE history was announced this September, with Olympic gold medalist wrestler Gable Steveson signing with the company.
The name of WWE's program is "Next in Line."
"Following a historic new policy by the NCAA effective July 1, 2021, which ushered in the NIL era allowing college athletes the ability to monetize their name, image and likeness, WWE has constructed a comprehensive program to recruit and develop potential future Superstars," WWE wrote. "Dubbed 'Next In Line,' the NIL program aims to enhance the talent development process through collaborative partnerships with college athletes from diverse athletic backgrounds."
WWE's press release included a quote about the program from Paul "Triple H" Levesque. It's one of the first public comments Levesque has issued since it was announced in September that he had undergone a successful procedure following a cardiac event. Levesque posted a tweet later that month saying that he was recovering, doing well, and was grateful for the support he had received.
“The WWE NIL program has the potential to be transformational to our business,” said Levesque. “By creating partnerships with elite athletes at all levels across a wide variety of college sports, we will dramatically expand our pool of talent and create a system that readies NCAA competitors for WWE once their collegiate careers come to a close.”
WWE noted that its first class of NIL partnerships will be unveiled in the coming weeks. Athletes who partner with WWE will receive access to the WWE Performance Center, along with resources in brand building, media training, communications, live event promotion, creative writing, and community relations. Select athletes may be offered a WWE contract upon completion of the program.