Since the National Collegiate Athletic Association new rules that allow college athletes to sell their NILs—Name, Image, Likeness—went into effect on July 1, 2021, businesses from car dealerships to tech companies have sought paid endorsements. But it’s not just big-name players and big-name schools that are signing on the dotted line.
Phone service provider Boost Mobile was one of many companies lined up to sign Hanna and Haley Cavinder, identical twins who play basketball for the Fresno State Bulldogs. The Cavinder sisters even got to appear on a Time Square billboard for their Boost deal, which they described as “well into five figures.” You might never have heard of these young ladies, but their 4 million followers on Tik Tok and Instagram have.
The Los Angeles-based tech company Web Apps America offered Hercy Miller, an incoming freshman basketball player for the Tennessee State Tigers, $2 million to become their brand ambassador. Why is Miller worth so much? His father is musician Master P, whose rap hits in the 1990s created a $200 million empire.
And some companies have taken a team approach to the name, image and likeness game.
Almost every member of the University of Miami Hurricanes will be eligible for some type of endorsement deal. The Florida Panthers Ice Hockey team enticed Canes quarterback D’Erik King to become the first college athlete to sign an NIL deal with a professional sports team. And American Top Team, a chain of mixed martial arts training gyms, will pay any of Miami’s scholarship athletes $500 monthly for their endorsement.