On Monday, Inside Carolina’s Sherrell McMillan reported that Carolina was going in the direction that football had, by hiring someone specifically for the handling of Name, Image, and Likeness. The new head of NIL will take those responsibilities out of the athletic department and basketball office, leaving them to be able to focus more on coaching and recruiting.
The man hired is T.J. Beisner, who is coming off being the right-hand man for John Calipari at Kentucky. While Beisner did more work directly for the team in terms of video work and coaching, he clearly brings a ton of hands-on experience with the efforts that Calipari and the Wildcats in this area, which will be invaluable in setting up current and future Tar Heels.
Across college basketball in general, programs have been recognizing the importance of NIL in various ways. Some have hired people to act as general managers; still within the athletic department, but with the focus of their job being to handle all of the off-the-court items. Some have taken the UNC football approach in the same vein as Heels 4 Life, by having people who are officially outside of the athletic department build a foundation to work with the athletes. With the hire of Beisner, McMillan reports that UNC will go that route with basketball. Beisner will essentially set up an entity outside of the athletic department focused solely on the NIL opportunities for basketball.
McMillan also reports that Beisner is a Kentucky graduate with a history of working for the school even before Calipari. He’s leaving behind some deep roots to start this up for Carolina. This indicates how serious the Tar Heel administration is clearly taking this issue, if they are able to draw away someone who has so many ties to another historical basketball program.
With this being outside the athletic department, don’t expect to hear any sort of official word from UNC on this hire. Instead, the notification will likely come once Beisner has settled in and is ready to announce what the basketball NIL program will be, likely something akin to UNC football’s Heels 4 Life.
Beisner comes to a basketball team that has taken huge advantage of the NIL space, with the most visible player being Armando Bacot. No doubt there was a rush to get someone like Beisner in while Bacot was still in school so the new group could lean on his experience in getting the program a kick start. This is Bacot’s last season, and UNC deosn’t have much longer to point to him as an example for future players to take advantage of NIL.
All of this plays against the backdrop of the approaching season, now less than two months away, with the ACC schedule set to be announced soon.