On July 1, 2021, the NCAA enacted the name. image, and likeness (NIL) policy. Under this legislation, student-athletes are free to enter into any endorsement deals pertaining to their name, image, and likeness they see fit; allowing college students in all states to receive financial compensation for their NIL.
Right away, we saw some massive deals from some of the biggest names in college sports. More than a year since the law went into effect, student-athletes in all states have taken advantage.
For fans, it’s been fascinating to watch endorsement deals come to life. Athletes in all sports are receiving deals from regional and local businesses. While most NIL deals have not reported a dollar amount, many have suggested lucrative deals.
Bryce Young, Alabama
201K Instagram followers
Young is one of the most popular names in all of college football. Coming into 2022, it was reported that Young already had earned close to $1 million in NIL deals.
He has already landed a number of deals in 2022, including his most recent deal with BMW. This adds to Young’s already impressive resume of endorsements. The former Heisman has secured deals with CashApp, Subway, and Logan’s Roadhouse.
Sunisa Lee, Auburn
1.7M Instagram Followers, 1.6M TikTok followers
Opendorse named the top gymnast in the world, Sunisa Lee, the most marketable collegiate gymnast in 2022. The Auburn gymnast shined in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics winning the bronze medal for her performance on the uneven bars, as well as a gold medal in the women’s all around.
After her spectacular performance at the Tokyo Olympics, Lee competed again on Dancing with the Stars before being eliminated in the semifinals
You can expect Lee to continue cashing in on major NIL deals.
Caleb Williams, Oklahoma
109K Instagram followers, 16.5K TikTok followers
The transfer quarterback from Oklahoma is expected to make an impact on and off the field at USC. He has already signed a number of deals, such as Beats by Dre, Fanatics, and Hawkins Way Capital. Williams is also a part-owner of a men’s grooming company.
Paige Bueckers, UConn
1M Instagram followers, 369K TikTok followers
The UConn guard has become a standout in women’s college basketbal, averaging 14.6 points and 3.9 assists per game last season. She’s also landed some notable endorsements with Gatorade, StockX, and Cash App.
Forbes estimates that she has the potential to make $1 million in endorsements and thousands more through social media posts.
Olivia Dunne, LSU
1.8M Instagram followers, 5.3M TikTok followers
You read that right. 5.3 million TikTok followers. Dunne is currently the most-followed college athlete in the country. Like Lee, she has competed with some of the top gymnasts in the world.
In October of 2021, The New York Times reported that Dunne has already made over a million from her endorsements. She signed multi-year NIL deals with Vuori, American Eagle, Planfuel, and Bartleby. In addition, she’s earned thousands more with one-off deals with TooFaced Cosmetics, GrubHub, EA Sports, and Nate App.
Quinn Ewers, Texas
125k Instagram Follwers
5-star quarterback Quinn Ewers originally committed to Ohio State University, but decided to transfer to The University of Texas after just one season with the Buckeyes. Before transferring, Ewers signed a whopping 1.4 million dollar endorsement with deal with GT Sports Marketing. The 3-year deal makes Ewers one of the highest-paid athletes in all of college sports.
Shedeur Sanders, Texas
428k Instagram Followers, 220k Followers
Sanders, son of hall of famer, Deion Sanders, was the first HBCU student-athlete to sign with Gatorade, adding to their elite roster of athletes such as Zion Williamson, Serena Williams, and J.J. Watt.
The Jackson State quarterback has also landed other notable deals with Beats by Dre and Tom Brady’s apparel company. Sanders is sure to add on to his already impressive resume entering his sophomore season.
Limitless NIL Opportunities
Obviously, some of the biggest names in college sports have already secured some major NIL deals. But it’s not just big-name athletes getting deals, student-athletes at all levels are taking advantage of NIL opportunities.
The NIL landscape is still expanding as laws are being ironed out within states and universities. Although, college athletes are discovering how they can earn NIL deals, and they’re taking advantage.