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Female college athletes are the big winners of the NIL 2021 reform

By on January 1, 2022 0

Today marks the sixth anniversary of several new state laws that guarantee college athletes the right to approve products without being punished for doing so by the NCAA. For years, the NCAA leadership had proclaimed that the state-mandated NIL reform would lead to a deepening of the gender divide in college sport. However, in reality, female varsity athletes have been among the biggest beneficiaries of the 2021 varsity sports economic reform.

Here are some of the many examples that help illustrate the point of emerging opportunity for female college athletes to take advantage of sponsorship opportunities:

  • At the University of Connecticut, star basketball player Paige Bueckers has signed at least two major sponsorship deals, including one with famous sports drink Gatorade. According to the Wall Street newspaper, Bueckers’ mentions could earn him over $ 1 million a year, which is more than the average annual salary of most WNBA players.
  • At Fresno State University, Twin Guards Haley and Hanna Caviinder, who were already well known for their notoriety on Instagram and Tik Tok, signed several quick approval deals with companies such as Boost Mobile and Six Star. Pro Nutrition. Not only are these deals expected to earn the Cavinder twins more than their own basketball coach, but these deals have also helped young basketball players increase their personal brands and social media followers.
  • At Louisiana State University, 19-year-old gymnast Olivia Dunn, who has over 1.3 million Instagram followers, has signed sponsorship deals with brands such as Plantfuel, American Eagle

    and Vuori which, combined, have an approximate value of over $ 1 million per year.

Meanwhile, beyond these important backers, there is also a growing opportunity for lesser-known female college athletes nationally to support brands for free products and smaller amounts of money, just like the old one. Stanford University volleyball player Hayley Hodson testified before the California State Legislature. the case in July 2019.

As 2022 approaches, the big new questions for college sports are not whether female athletes will have the opportunity to take advantage of sponsorship opportunities, but rather whether these new NIL opportunities will help retain elite female athletes. in college and university programs rather than pursuing professional studies. opportunities in their sport.

The end result of the NIL reform could very well be that athletes in women’s sports where their earning potential is short-lived will now be more likely to stay in college rather than having to choose between education and training. economic opportunities. At the same time, female athletes in income-generating and college-promoting sports such as college basketball will finally be able to share some of the fruits of their labor.


Marc Edelman ([email protected]) is Professor of Law at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College, Director of Sports Ethics at the Robert Zicklin Center on Corporate Integrity and Founder of Edelman Law. He is the author of “A short treatise on amateurism and antitrust law” and “The future of university player and athlete unions.