Making money in the NCAA

Published: Dec. 27, 2021 at 4:16 PM EST
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POTSDAM, New York (WWNY) - This school year, college athletes are allowed to profit off their names for the first time ever. The NCAA made the landmark change over the summer.

Cheel Arena is home of the Clarkson Golden Knights men’s and women’s hockey teams and home to some of the best players in college hockey. Those players are now targets for deals known as name, image, and likeness deals, or NIL for short, giving student-athletes the chance to profit off their own brand.

Goaltender Ethan Haider is one of the best at his position. He was approached in the fall by Bauer, one of the biggest apparel companies in hockey.

“As a college athlete, it’s no different than being a pro athlete. You spend – you’re dedicating your life to this and every day, you’re either at school or you’re working out, you’re training, you’re practicing,” said Haider.

Haider was drafted by the Nashville Predators in the 5th round in 2019 and has had a relationship with Bauer since he was in high school.

“During the fall, they kind of said, hey, like, if something were to work out with your guys’ school, maybe we can make something work,” he said.

Those types of conversations became possible over the summer when the NCAA announced the landmark change. Before this year, student-athletes would fill up stadiums, but only the school could profit. Now, athletes have the chance to brand themselves, while maintaining amateur status.

Luke Mobley is another Clarkson men’s hockey player. He was approached by Hawkeye Hockey Services, a Minnesota-based consulting agency.

“They’re using my image and kind of my career, my story, my background, and then, it’s marketing basically, for them,” he said.

On the women’s side, Caitrin Lonergan is a former second-team All-American and member of the 2018 national team. Lonergan was approached by Slate Milk, a lactose-free milk company, as well as a couple other sports hydration companies. Lonergan says this is a win for college athletes.

“My brother, for example, he was a tutor and he didn’t play sports in college. So, he was making $50 an hour just tutoring a kid in chemistry. And I was on the national team and couldn’t even teach a 10-year-old how to shoot pucks for money,” she said.

While the NIL deals seem great, all three student-athletes will tell you there’s more to the story. None of them have signed a deal for money yet because they don’t want to break any rules and possibly lose the chance to play college athletics.

We’ll dive into those details during Tuesday night’s newscast.

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