Ky’Wuan Dukes, a freshman wide receiver for Johnson C. Smith University, has become the first HBCU athlete to sign an endorsement deal, inking a deal with Bojangles.
The redshirt freshman and a bevy of other college athletes are benefitting from the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s (NCAA) ruling to allow student-athletes to profit off their names, images, and likeness (NIL).
The ruling, which went into effect July 1, allows student-athletes to hire agents and sign endorsement deals with a host of companies to profit off their abilities while playing sports in college. Before this rule change, the NCAA constantly made the argument that a free education was enough. Dukes told Afrotech the rule gives student-athletes a chance to start their futures, which may not include pro sports.
“It’s already hard for us as it is,” Dukes said about being an HBCU student-athlete. “I’m glad we get that rule because… we are able to promote ourselves for marketing and be introduced to things we’ve never really seen.”
Dukes added that the ruling is a significant turning point for student-athletes who had to deal with strict NCAA rules and enforcement on everything from clothing to food stipends. The ruling now gives student-athletes the ability to use their NIL to make money and even pay for their education if they do not have a full scholarship.
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SOURCE: Black Enterprise, Derek Major