NIL refers to Name, Image and Likeness. As of July 1, 2021 student-athletes have variable flexibility, depending on their state and school, in monetizing their NIL through business ventures, endorsements, social media and more.
While you, as a student-athlete, have the liberty to contact brands directly, it may not be the most effective, efficient, or profitable. With an already busy-schedule it can be extremely valuable to have someone else doing the heavy lifting on the negotiation side, ensuring you get fair value for your services.
Many states have prohibited the endorsement by student-athletes of illicit product/services such as tobacco, gambling, alcohol and more. Unapproved endorsements may vary by state and school.