The Clemson Branding Institute Aims to Take NIL to the Next Level

Last Updated on March 14, 2023

As the landscape of name, image, and likeness evolves, more universities are investing in resources to help strengthen their college athletes’ knowledge of NIL and personal brands.

Clemson has taken that investment to another level. The Tigers have opened a brick-and-mortar building dedicated to college athlete branding and education. The Clemson Athlete Branding Institute, or The CAB, is the first dedicated name, image and likeness facility, a 12,000-square-foot two-story building with two video and photo studios, an audio studio and an editing space. In addition, the CAB will serve as an on-campus resource for college athletes looking to engage in sponsorship opportunities and content creation. 

The CAB Effect 

Dabo Swinney coined The CAB and is excited about the Clemson Athlete Branding Institute’s impact.

“We’re going to call it The CAB because what does a cab do?” Swinney said. “It gives you a lift to your destination. You’ve gotta pay the fare.” 

Knowledge development for college athletes is essential to maximize name, image, and likeness opportunities. The creation of the Clemson Athlete Branding Insititute demonstrates the long-term investment Clemson is making in NIL education and exposure for its athletes. In addition, having content and marketing resources on campus will help amplify the stories of Clemson athletes. 

”If you’re injured, you go to the training room,” Swinney said. “If you want to get stronger, you go to the weight room. This opportunity was an opportunity for our guys to know that if they want help with branding and sponsorship and NIL and tax education and finances and all of these very real-world issues, you go to The CAB, where we have a dedicated space with people ready to help them.”

NIL Coordinator C.D. Davies

C.D. Davies is one of the most valuable assets of the Clemson Athlete Branding Institute. Davies serves as Clemson’s NIL coordinator and has held leadership positions such as the CEO of CitiMortgage and Head of Citi Global Mortgage, CEO of LendingTree, Wachovia Mortgage and QBE First. He intends to utilize his corporate expertise to educate and advise Clemson athletes on NIL opportunities. 

“They’re getting an education that a lot of business schools don’t get to give young people as far as actually being in the midst of doing these deals and negotiating for themselves,” Davies said. “We’re giving them all the tools we can to make sure our players are in control of these transactions.”

Smart Family Media Center

Cade Koubnik in the new Smart Family Media Center in the Clemson Branding Institute
Cade Koubnik in the new Smart Family Media Center in the Clemson Branding Institute | Photo courtesy of Clemson University

The Smart Family Media Center on the first floor of the Clemson Branding Institute will serve as a central hub for Clemson’s media operations. Within the 1,200-square-foot center there is wired workspace for 40 media members to work while facing the stage where a 163-inch video branding wall can be customized for each student athlete.

The Future of NIL Facilities

Although Clemson has officially opened an on-campus NIL facility, expect other schools to follow suit.

In the same way, we rave about universities building new athletic facilities, the building of more on-campus NIL facilities could be next. NIL education is not just essential for athletes during their collegiate career but serves as the tool that will allow them to leverage their brands long after the final buzzer.


  • Darian Kelly

    Darian is a Sports Industry Management graduate of Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies. Darian hosts The Jersey Podcast and is a sports documentary fanatic who loves to talk professional and college football and basketball.

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