15 college athletes already getting paid under new NCAA rule originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
NCAA athletes can officially get their pay days.
On Wednesday, the NCAA's board of directors adopted an interim policy permitting incoming and current student-athletes to make money off their names, images and likenesses. The policy was set to begin on Thursday.
Under the NCAA rule change, college athletes get paid from their social media accounts, broker endorsement deals, autograph signings and other financial opportunities, and use an agent or representatives to do so.
In addition to partnerships, many student-athletes will use their personal brands -- mainly built on social media -- to earn some money. University of Oregon women's basketball player Sedona Prince has already promised custom merchandise for fans. Prince has 2.5 million followers on TikTok, 240K Instagram followers and 43.1K followers on Twitter. Similarly, LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne just launched a billboard in Times Square. Dunne has 3.9 million followers on TikTok and 1.1 million Instagram followers, and is expected to be one of the highest-earning college athletes.
When the clock struck midnight on Thursday, student-athletes wasted no time in taking advantage of the opportunity to cash in on their names and fame. Here are a few of the NCAA athletes who are already getting paid for their likeness:
Hanna and Haley Cavinder, Fresno State women’s basketball
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Sisters Hanna and Haley Cavinder wasted no time making a deal once the new NCAA policy went into place. The two Fresno State women’s basketball players became spokespeople for Boost Mobile. A triumph of the new NCAA endorsement rules, their endorsement made headlines on a billboard in Times Square.
The deal was arranged with Icon Source, a platform that connects athletes with companies. Icon Source says it helped arrange over a dozen endorsements in the opening hours after the new rule went live.
Bo Nix, Auburn football
Life just got a whole lot sweeter for Auburn quarterback Bo Nix after he announced an endorsement deal with Milo’s Tea Company. However, the news left a sour taste in the mouths of Alabama fans.
Shaun Shivers, Auburn football
Nix isn’t the only Auburn player to strike an endorsement deal. Shaun Shivers announced a partnership with Yoke, a platform that allows fans to play video games with and against athletes.
Company co-founder Mick Assaf, a former Notre Dame football player, says Yoke has already brought on hundreds of college athletes.
Will Ulmer, Marshall football
Marshall offensive lineman Will Ulmer is using the new NIL rules to help kick off his music career. The guitarist and singer posted a message on Twitter saying that he will be playing live shows under his own name (he’d previously performed as “Lucky Bill”) and is open for business.
Gable Steveson, Minnesota wrestling
Stevenson, a 2021 NCAA wrestling champion in the 285-pound weight class, struck a deal with delivery service Gopuff. The Golden Gopher leads all Big 10 athletes in Instagram followers with over 245,000 and will soon take the biggest stage in sports when he competes in the 125 kg weight class for the men’s freestyle at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Dontaie Allen, Kentucky men’s basketball
Rupp Arena could be filled with shirts designed by one of the home team players this coming season. Kentucky men’s basketball guard Dontaie Allen teamed up with The Players Trunk and will be coming out with custom merchandise.
Antwan Owens, Jackson State football
Owens inked a deal with 3 Kings Grooming, a family, black-owned hair product business, in a midnight announcement from a New York City hotel. The announcement cemented the Jackson State defensive end as one of the first collegiate athletes ever to sign an endorsement deal. Four other Jackson State players also signed deals with the company.
Like the Cavinder sisters and Nix, the deal was facilitated by Icon Source.
Lexi Sun, Nebraska women’s volleyball
Just hours after the NCAA’s decision was announced, Nebraska volleyball player Lexi Sun had an announcement of her own. Sun partnered with REN Athletics to release her own piece of clothing, The Sunny Crew.
Trey Knox, Arkansas football
Arkansas wide receiver and animal lover Trey Knox inked a deal with PetSmart. The partnership is a perfect fit for Knox, who says he is “proud to be a dog dad” to his husky, Blue.
The social campaign will showcase Knox’s love for Blue, and will highlight the lengths PetSmart will go to support pets and pet parents. The deal between PetSmart and Knox was facilitated by Playfly Sports and NOCAP Sports.
Jordan Bohannon, Iowa men’s basketball
Bohannon, one of the faces of the #NotNCAAProperty group that pushed for more student-athlete rights during the 2021 NCAA Tournament, will make a paid appearance at an Iowa City fireworks shop. He also plans to make money off his podcast and has begun selling personal merchandise.
Jared Butler, Baylor basketball
National champion Jared Butler is now offering his services on Cameo, a site that allows celebrities to send personalized video messages to fans. Baylor followers can now pay for a shoutout, motivational speech, birthday wish and more from the former Bear.
Butler is currently declared for the 2021 NBA Draft, and most likely has an even bigger payday coming in the near future.
McKenzie Milton, Florida State football, and D’Eriq King, Miami football
Two Florida quarterbacks teamed up to become co-founders of Dreamfield Co., a company focused on arranging live events for student-athletes in the NIL era. The company also plans to enter the NFT world with Milton on its first digital card. In addition to Dreamfield, King inked a deal with College Hunks Hauling Junk at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday.
Nicholas Petit-Frere, Ohio State football
While other Buckeyes joined Yoke and Gopuff, offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere signed a deal with recruiting technology company Flix CV, which is based in his hometown of Tampa, Fla. Flix CV utilizes video highlight reels to streamline hiring for other companies and applicants.