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How College Athletes Are Cashing In On Sponsorships and Endorsements

by | Aug 6, 2021 | Sports

In June, the United States Supreme Court ruled that NCAA athletes could profit off their name, image and likeness. Now over a month later, some college athletes are already cashing in. From major brand endorsements to deals with local businesses and everything in between – let’s take a look at how college athletes are making money in this new era of college sports.


Corporate Endorsements

Several of the nation’s top college athletes have already signed endorsement deals with major corporations.

Fresno State basketball players Hanna and Haley Cavinder signed a deal with Boost Mobile which resulted in a billboard in Times Square. University of Minnesota wrestler Gable Stevenson came to an endorsement agreement with delivery service GoPuff.

Football players are seeing large sponsors come their way as well. Arkansas Razorback Trey Knox inked a deal with PetSmart. The endorsement will center around a social media campaign focusing on the relationship between Knox and his husky.


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A post shared by Trey Knox (@handsfordays)


Local Endorsements


It’s not just major brands taking advantage of new endorsement opportunities, some local businesses are teaming up with college athletes as well.

Boomin Iowa Fireworks, a fireworks store located in Windsor Heights, Iowa, held a paid-appearance event with University of Iowa basketball player Jordan Bohannon.

Smalls Sliders, a fast-food burger restaurant in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, partnered with LSU quarterback Myles Brennan. Opened in 2019, Smalls Sliders is less than a mile from the LSU campus. The business’s owner told Baton Rouge’s Fox 44 he sees the partnership as a “win-win for the student athletes, business and the universities”.


Social Media

College athletes are known to have some of the biggest followings on social media. In terms of monetization, that didn’t used to matter – they weren’t allowed to profit from it under the NCAA’s rules. With the Supreme Court ruling, those rules are no more.

College athletes now have the opportunity for sponsored posts across their social media platforms. LSU Basketball star Shareef O’Neal has 2.7 million Instagram followers. LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne has 3.9 million followers on her TikTok as well as over 1 million on her Instagram.


Many NCAA athletes have already begun promoting products across their social media pages. With influencer-level numbers of followers, it’s a marketing trend that is likely to continue to grow.



Cameo is a social media app where fans pay their favorite celebrities for a personalized video message. Now, several college athletes are joining the platform to connect with fans as well as make a few bucks.

Sedona Prince, a basketball forward for The University of Oregon, signed up for Cameo in the immediate aftermath of the Supreme Court ruling. She’s charging $63 per video.

University of Texas running back Bijan Robinson has found success on Cameo as well. Charging $160 per video, the Longhorn has been giving pep talks, commemorating holidays and thanking fans for their support through the personalized videos.

With the opportunity for sponsorship still so new for college athletes, even bigger sponsorships and endorsements are likely in the near future. Stay tuned to Athletes Creative Trap for future updates on the NCAA and all things sports and creative culture.

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