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College athletes across the country have taken advantage of the new era of collegiate sports, with NIL taking over as the biggest draw for those staying in school. A-list prospects and Heisman Trophy contenders have been inundated with constant promotional inquiries, but many players seem to have found their footing in the NIL sector.
Whether it’s million-dollar contracts, luxury cars, or a glut of marketing opportunities, athletes across the country have taken full advantage of the new normal.
The NIL contracts have set a standard for team recruiting and personnel, but some of the deals in 2022 have created a national buzz as athletes and team collectives are now comfortable with the game.
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Nebraska wide receiver Decoldest Crawford recently signed a NIL deal with local HVAC company, SOS Heating & Cooling. There hasn’t been a better fit between company and player in the NIL landscape than this. Crawford has been well known for his name since high school, going viral from a Louisiana News Station Interview in 2019.
The new freshman has only been with the Cornhuskers for a few months, and he’s already one of the most popular names on the roster. Big businesses and corporations, including Nike and Gatorade, have benefited from the NIL rules, but local businesses have slowly put their stamp on the market.
Crawford is the new spokesperson for SOS Heating & Cooling, having the ability to capitalize on its name and support small businesses. He established financial success before stepping onto the college grill. If Crawford can thrive in Nebraska, he could be one of college football’s most sought-after ambassadors.
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Arguably the best running back in the nation, Bijan Robinson of the Texas Longhorns broke the internet when he teamed up with Lamborghini in Austin, TX. Most college athletes have spent time negotiating with local businesses or respected brands such as Cash App and Raising Cane’s, but Robinson has taken another step into the land of luxury.
Companies such as BMW and Ford struck NIL deals with college athletes, but a high-class brand such as Lamborghini had not joined the bandwagon until then. Robinson opened the door for athletes like CJ Stroud and Shilo Sanders to sign deals with high-class automakers like Bentley and Porsche.
Full details of Robinson’s deal with Lamborghini Austin have yet to be spelled out, but fans will be able to see and hear Robinson en route to the DKR Stadium next season. His deal with Lamborghini shows there are clear levels to NIL contracts as Robinson is rewarded for his talent on the pitch and his popularity in the sport.
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Norfolk State University Athletics
HBCU product Rayquan Smith evolved from “Norfolk State running back” to “King of NIL”. Smith is heading into his senior year having won over 70 NIL trades. Despite the disadvantages at FCS level, he is clearly one of the most established defenders of NIL rules.
After playing with the Spartans for two seasons, he will give up his pad career and serve as a decathlete for Norfolk State, according to FanNation’s Kyle T. Mosley. Smith has turned his athletic ability into a growing source of income for himself, while teaching athletes across the country how the NIL rules really work.
Although most of Smith’s contract deals have been short-term pacts with fashion apparel or accessory brands, he’s reportedly signed with national companies including Champs Sports, Body Armor and Arby’s.
Smith recently received the “Hustle Award” from the NIL Summit Awards in June, given to the athlete most determined and willing to thrive in the NIL environment.
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Miami clerk Jaden Rashada may have turned into a multi-millionaire before taking an FBS-level shot. The 4-star prospect from Pittsburg, Calif., reportedly signed a $9.5 million contract with a recall from the Hurricanes in June.
The highly touted rookie essentially caused a bidding war between Miami and Florida. After committing to head coach Mario Cristobal and the Canes, multiple reports surfaced that he turned down an $11 million offer from the Gators. The Florida collective was quick to deny their connection and said they had never been in communication with Rashada and his finance team.
The mystery behind Rashada and his involvement in various programs in the state of Florida still raises a major debate over a player’s NIL value. One of the biggest problems with the NIL rules has been deciphering the contract value of every college player and every rookie.
The NCAA made regulations when the NIL policy was recommended that it will not tolerate paid inducements from schools. Rashada and the collectives he was involved with in Gainesville and Miami have all declined to work with the deals, but the evidence appears to help prove his landmark contract may well be true.
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Texas State dominated the NIL landscape, with collective units and star players joining forces for millions of dollars in prize money. The Texas Longhorns and Texas A&M Aggies may have an edge over the Texas Tech Red Raiders on the court, but TTU has found a way to earn each of its fellows a base salary of $25,000 next season. .
A group of Texas Tech alumni created a collective nonprofit earlier this year to help the Red Raiders compete against national programs while maintaining a consistent spending limit that wouldn’t cause disdain within the program. athletics, according to The Athletic.
This will give every player the option to opt for a one-year salary if they agree to the terms of performing community service and working as a charity representative in the West Texas region. .
The offer would include 85 scholarship athletes and 20 extras. Founding member of the Matador Club, Cody Campbell emphasized that the collective was a chance to show unity and family traits at Texas Tech, according to Max Olson of The Athletic:
“The Matador Club’s goal will be to build the program for the long term and make sure the players at Texas Tech feel supported, comfortable and cared for so that ‘they can stay in the program, grow, become better football players and better people.’
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Miami quarterback Tyler Van Dyke claimed ownership of a new BMW 750i in April. The Connecticut native will not receive the full car title, having agreed to a deal that sees him lease the BMW until he leaves the University of Miami, according to The Athletic.
Some of the main incentives for local collectives will be to keep the stars within their program and create a sense of security and organization within the team.
In his message of appreciation on Twitter, Van Dyke made sure to thank Rosenhaus Sports and Sarchione Auto Gallery for closing the deal. His agent, Shawn O’Dare, is known as a former Hurricanes wide receiver and current NFL agent who secured Van Dyke some of the most lucrative contracts in college football.
At the time, Van Dyke’s deal to lease the car was one of the first deals with a flexible schedule that benefited the team.
Van Dyke isn’t the only Hurricane to drive in style; Kansas State basketball transfer Nijel Pack was also promised a new car when he agreed to a two-year, $800,000 deal with LifeWallet. UM has created incredible opportunities for its student-athletes to thrive, and a rental opportunity that requires a player to stay with the program is awesome.
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The Oklahoma Sooners recently reached an agreement with Fanatics that would allow custom jerseys at the team store and online. Earlier fans will now have the option of designing blank football shirts, according to Pete Nakos. Some programs across the country like Florida and Alabama have created opportunities for fans to purchase jerseys of their favorite players, in partnership with the Jordan Brand and Fanatics, but OU fans will have the opportunity to acquire the shirt of anyone in the team.
Oklahoma spent the majority of their time with NIL trying to please both fans and players. In addition to ensuring their student-athletes are in the best position to succeed financially, they have created multiple opportunities to grow their fanbase and players as a united group. The collectives around the Sooners and the alum who once wore the crimson and cream have generated wealth, from autograph events to off-season player experiences to game-day activities around campus.
Their new deal with Fanatics may not be revolutionary in terms of benefiting the entire team or growing a huge cash influx, but they will likely benefit from their goal of satisfying all parties involved in the program. .