WWE Announces New 'Next In Line' College Recruitment Program

WWE's new program "will provide a clear pathway from collegiate athletics to WWE."

WWE Next in line WWE NIL
WWE.com

Tuesday saw WWE announce a new recruitment program aimed at providing college athletes with a clear route to a career with the market-leading wrestling promotion.

Next in Line (or NIL) follows on from an NCAA policy instigated in July, which allows college athletes to earn money from their name, image, and likeness. WWE has put NIL together with this in mind, aiming to form partnerships with said athletes as part of the new developmental scheme.

WWE is due to announce its first batch of NIL partnerships within the next few weeks, with the athletes in question granted Performance Center access and more.

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Here's the press release in full:-

WWE today announced the launch of a groundbreaking NIL (Name, Image & Likeness) program that will provide a clear pathway from collegiate athletics to WWE.

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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. Dubbed “Next In Line,” the NIL program aims to enhance the talent development process through collaborative partnerships with college athletes from diverse athletic backgrounds.

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“The WWE NIL program has the potential to be transformational to our business,” said Paul Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy and Development. “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.”

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All athlete partnerships will feature access to the state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., in addition to resources across the organization including brand building, media training, communications, live event promotion, creative writing and community relations. Upon completion of the NIL program, select athletes may earn an exclusive opportunity to be offered a WWE contract.

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In September, WWE announced its first NIL deal with heavyweight freestyle wrestler Gable Steveson, who captured a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. The agreement allowed Steveson to return to the University of Minnesota for his senior season where he is defending his NCAA National Championship while beginning his Superstar training with WWE.

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WWE will unveil the first class of NIL partnerships in the coming weeks.

Signed by WWE in September 2021, Steveson is expected to assume a more regular role with the promotion after completing college obligations in 2022.

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WhatCulture's Senior Wrestling Reporter, Presenter and Editor. Formerly Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @andyhmurray.