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Cinderella Tourney Runs Could Lead to Big NIL Paydays

  • March Madness can give unknown athletes a national profile overnight.
  • That presents a major opportunity around NIL.
Doug Edert playing basketball for Bryant
Eric Rueb / The Providence Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK

With March Madness underway, an unexpected hot streak or unlikely hero can become a national story — and under today’s NIL regulations, that can mean big paydays for players in the NCAA tournament.

Doug Edert, for instance, helped Saint Peter’s Peacocks — a 15-seed in 2022 — to an unlikely run to the Elite Eight last year, helping him amass an NIL brand value of more than $120,000, according to On3. He struck multiple deals, including one with Buffalo Wild Wings.

On3 doesn’t list any basketball players on the Furman Paladins in its NIL valuation database, but that could change if the team is able to build on its first-round upset of fourth-seeded Virginia and go on a Cinderella run.

On Friday, the NCAA agreed to extend the prohibition of transfer restrictions through the end of the entire 2023-24 spring sports season.

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Going into this tournament, On3 sees Kentucky center Oscar Tshiebwe as holding the highest NIL value in the tournament ($915,000), followed by Indiana forward Trayce Jackson-Davis ($887,000) and Miami’s twin guards Haley and Hanna Cavinder ($835,000 each).

The gender disparity seen in other sports appears in NIL as well. Men make around 60% of NIL dollars in non-football sports, according to Opendorse. 

Adding football back in, men make around twice what women do through NIL. Through February, football accounts for 55.1% of NIL deals since the Supreme Court legalized them in June 2021.

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