Brave New World of NIL, College Athletes and Kool-Aid

Jordan Ingram Editorials

Did you know that Alabama freshman cornerback Ga’Quincy “Kool-Aid” McKinstry signed an endorsement deal with, wait for it,  Kool-Aid? Yup. It’s a new era of college football. For the first time ever, collegiate athletes are able to receive financial compensation for their name, image and likeness, or NIL, opening up a flood gate of cash for advertising and endorsement deals.

Let’s be real, it’s been a long time coming. And it’s only fair these student-athletes have the opportunity to benefit from a $4 billion industry that has, until now, primarily enriched corporate executives.

Do I think a player driving a Lamborghini to algebra class will create internal problems in the locker room with less-fortunate teammates still taking the bus to school? You bet.

But that’s capitalism, folks, ain’t she great?

For those still on the fence, it will take some time getting accustomed to 19-year-olds hawking fruit punch to diabetic America. Recently, I noticed Oregon Ducks star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux partnering up with DirecTV for a promotional deal for live streaming sports.

Honestly, it was kind of jarring. Maybe I am one of those sentimental folks that believed in the purity of unpaid sportsmen and women competing simply for the love of the game.

The Our Beloved Ducks Forum is BACK! Come get the links to Oregon Sports articles, the press releases from the Oregon Athletic Department and the news from your fellow Duck fans. It is the only safe place on the web for Duck Discussion, so join us over there!

As for Thibodeaux, my hat’s off to him. The edge rusher’s prowess navigating this brave new world has highlighted some exciting possibilities, including a non-fungible token (NFT), commissioned art and a six-figure memorabilia deal. Even Oregon linebacker Justin Flowe announced a partnership with Marshawn Lynch’s Beast Mode Marketing.

And there is all sorts of wheeling’ and dealing’ across the country. Hercy Miller, son of rapper Master P and incoming freshman commit at Tennessee State, signed the largest deal to date — a $2 million agreement with Web Apps America.

Kayvon Thibodeaux has been on the frontline of a new era in college athletics.

Miami Hurricanes teammates D’Eriq King and Bubba Boldenboth both signed a $20,000 deal with College Hunks Hauling Junk, a Florida moving service, per ESPN’s Jordan Schultz.

In July, Bojangles, a popular fast-food chain, announced an endorsement deal with Clemson’s D.J. Uiagalelei and North Carolina’s Sam Howell, who will be “making appearances on behalf of Bojangles and sharing content on their personal social media account.”

Jackson State’s Antwan Owens signed one of the first NIL deals with 3 Kings Grooming, a Black-owned hair product business, according to ESPN. For the ladies, Fresno State twin basketball stars Haley and Hanna Cavinder grabbed a deal with Boost Mobile, unveiling a giant poster in Times Square, and recently announced their own underwear line with PSD Underwear.

How is this all going to turn out? Don’t know. Probably fine. But more money brings more problems.

And with that much cash on the table, swindlers, grifters and hustlers will inevitably come out of the woodwork to get a taste. It’s a free for all and flim-flam men are licking their chops. Mark my words: Some kid is going to get burned and it will be ugly.

My hot take? Keep the money. I just want the Ducks to make the College Football Playoff.

Jordan Ingram
San Diego, California
Top Photo by Eric Evans, UO Athletics

Come join us in the new Our Beloved Ducks Forum, where you get the news about Oregon Sports and is the safest place on the web to read and post your opinions!

New 2024 FishDuck Publishing Schedule….

During the off-season the publishing schedule will consist of articles on Mondays and Tuesdays. Do keep checking as new articles could be published during the week when a writer has something to say.

In mid-August of 2024, we will go back to the seven-days-a-week of articles during the football season as we did in the football season of 2023.

The Our Beloved Ducks Forum (OBD) is where we we discuss the article above and many more topics, as it is so much easier in a message board format over there.  At the free OBD forum we will be posting Oregon Sports article links, the daily Press Releases from the Athletic Department and the news coming out every day.

Our 33 rules at the free OBD Forum can be summarized to this: 1) be polite and respectful, 2) do not tell anyone what to think, feel or write, and 3) no reference of any kind to politics. Easy-peasy!

OBD Forum members….we got your back.  No Trolls Allowed!