Students with name, image and likeness (NIL) deals are paying it forward

September 28, 2022
In the second year of NIL, student-athletes are stepping up…for others. As deals put big bucks in players’ pockets, more and more are paying it forward, to teammates and strangers, locally and internationally. The kids are most definitely all right.
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SOURCE: REY DEL RIO/GETTY IMAGES
SOURCE: REY DEL RIO/GETTY IMAGES

The GIST: In the second year of NIL, student-athletes are stepping up…for others. As deals put big bucks in players’ pockets, more and more are paying it forward, to teammates and strangers, locally and internationally. The kids are most definitely all right.

No work visa? No problem: Student visas don’t allow international athletes to benefit from NIL, but Michigan State men’s basketball center Mady Sissoko (pronounced MA-dee suh-SOW-kow) found a workaround.

  • Instead, the Spartan is pouring every NIL cent into a charity he started to help impoverished people in his native Mali. Baller moves.

Walking the walk(on): Another overseas student-athlete is sharing the wealth. Cincinnati football’s Australian punter Mason Fletcher is donating the NIL dough earned from the sale of his Bearcats jersey to the squad’s walk-ons (who don’t receive scholarships), saying “this will hopefully give some financial help to these guys that give their all.” Good on him!

All in for a cure: Alabama football’s Kneeland Hibbett’s cause is personal. The long snapper’s grandfather, former Crimson Tide and NFL wide receiver Dennis Homan, is suspected to be suffering from CTE, and both are making donations.

Sí se puede: When Minnesota defensive back Steven Ortiz Jr. heard about Hurricane Fiona’s impact on Puerto Rico (PR), the gridiron Gopher had just inked an NIL deal with a local Minneapolis restaurant. Ortiz, who has family in PR, immediately pivoted, asking for the proceeds from his signature meal to be donated to help the island recover. Our corazones.

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