Why some college athletes don’t want to cash in on NIL deals

Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 2:09 PM EST
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POTSDAM, New York (WWNY) - New in college sports this year: student athletes can make money off their own name. While many across the country are cashing in, it’s not for everybody. We learn why some north country athletes are hesitant to take any money.

If you’re a fan of college basketball, you probably know who Buddy Boeheim is. He’s a star player for the Syracuse University basketball team. He’s also one of dozens of high-profile college athletes making money thanks to the NCAA’s new name, image, and likeness rules. Boeheim is selling t-shirts with his name and the Syracuse logo on them.

Goaltender Ethan Haider, with Clarkson University’s hockey team, is a sought-after player, too. He’s a Nashville Predators draft pick. But, he says most NIL deals are only for the select few.

“Talking with like people that don’t play college sports that I know back home it’s like, ‘Oh you’re going to get all this money now,’ and it’s really not necessarily like that,” he said.

Haider was approached in the fall by Bauer, one of the leading brands for hockey apparel and gear. Haider says he’s had casual conversations with them, but neither side is forcing a deal for money. He says the deal would likely be for free merchandise if anything. Haider says he’d rather focus on hockey than worry about distractions.

“It’s not necessarily the first thing that’s on my mind. It’s just more like, if something works out, and we’re able to do it with no worries at all with the NCAA, great,” he said.

Haider says he plans on wearing Bauer throughout his pro career, and he’s considering waiting until after college to sign anything with Bauer.

Caitrin Lonergan of the Clarkson women’s hockey team doesn’t want to rush into a deal either. She was approached by a handful of companies including Liquid IV, which sells a powder mix similar to Gatorade. But, she says she isn’t interested in a deal for money right now because an NIL deal can be a lot of work.

“You have to, like, post on your Instagram, like, three times a month. You kind of have to show them that you’re promoting their product,” she said.

On top of that, Lonergan wants to get into coaching after college and maybe start her own hockey skills camp. She says signing an NIL deal now could prevent her from signing a bigger deal later on.

“Like Liquid IV, like if I was to decide to go with theirs, like, I couldn’t be with Gatorade or Powerade. You have to kind of stick to the brand you’re with,” she said.

The concern is that everything is still so new. One wrong move could mean losing your chance to play or limiting your earning potential.

But, both athletes say the new rules have forever changed the landscape of amateur hockey and are excited for the future. We’ll get into those details during Wednesday night’s newscast.

See Part 1

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