ATLANTA — For the first time ever, college athletes are cashing in on their success.
Channel 2 Sports Director Zach Klein first reported on Georgia student athletes making money off their name, image, and likeness in November.
Now the entire University of Georgia baseball team signed a deal that lets all of them earn extra cash.
“At this level, I think everybody wants to pitch when it matters. That’s kind of the mentality you have to have,” said Jake Gowen, a relief pitcher for the Bulldogs who comes in when the game is on the line.
The senior is used to high-stress situations. He helped negotiate an endorsement deal for the entire baseball team with Pink Zebra Moving.
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The company’s founder Ron Holt is a UGA alumnus who came up with the idea.
“No NIL deal benefits a whole team, you know, so I want to do something that can benefit every player,” said Gowen about Holt’s inspiration.
Here is how the deal works: when someone schedules a move, they are asked who referred them or who their favorite Bulldogs baseball player is.
“If they say Jack Gowen is my favorite baseball player on the team or Jack Gowen referred me to Pink Zebra and now as long as the move is over $1,000, we’ll get $500 of it,” said Gowen.
All Gowen and his teammates have to do is post on social media.
“With social media like it is today, you know, we throw some pictures or posts up stating that, you know, use Pink Zebra, refer me and I’ll get $500 in my mind sounded really easy,” said Gowen.
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Channel 2 first reported in November 2021 about the NCAA rule changes that went into effect July 1, 2021, that made it possible. They allow college athletes to make money off their name, image, and likeness.
“It’s the biggest, I mean this is the biggest landmark change in college,” said Drew Butler the Executive Vice President of Collegiate for Icon Sports.
Butler, a former Georgia Bulldogs and NFL punter, helps arrange deals for college athletes and companies.
“Sure we have $10,000 deals, sure we’ve done $50,000 deals. We’ve also got $100 deals,” said Butler.
Those smaller deals mean a lot to Georgia State University softball player Bailee Richardson. She promotes Celsius energy drink and electrolyte drink mix Liquid IV.
“I just have to like promote them on my Instagram story, my Instagram feed and all that kind of stuff and they just send me free products,” said Richardson.
Georgia Tech volleyball player Kayla Kaiser has more than 90,000 followers on Tik Tok. She has earned hundreds of dollars off her Tik Tok videos and used an app to get free sports braces from Bauerfeind.
“Being able to get paid for something I love doing and always love doing is super exciting, knowing that I can create content for fun and enjoy it, and even earn money from it really helps,” said Kaiser.
Press Sports, an Atlanta-based company, has an app that allows users to store and share videos of their sports highlights. They hope to launch a creator’s fund that pays users for their content like TikTok does this fall.
“So, if they build an audience, post engaging content and you know, share that content… they’ll be able to get paid every month,” said Conrad Cornell, Press Sports CEO and Co-founder.
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Bulldogs’ pitcher Jack Gowen believes this is just the beginning for endorsement deals.
“It’s going to get huge, especially for football and basketball, big-time sports where you have big-time audiences,” said Gowen.
He said his teammates appreciate the Pink Zebra Moving endorsement deal. Many baseball players do not have full scholarships, so the extra money definitely helps.
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