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Monday, May 20, 2024

Lessons Learned From One of This Year’s March Madness Breakout Stars

  • Jack Gohlke rose to fame after leading Oakland to an upset victory over Kentucky.
  • The grad student chatted with ‘Front Office Sports’ about his numerous NIL deals.
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

One month ago, as the Oakland University men’s basketball team was in the middle of the Horizon League conference tournament, Jack Gohlke was simply a “broke grad student,” he tells the Front Office Sports Today podcast. Fast-forward two weeks, and the 24-year-old transfer guard became one of the hottest names in March Madness after draining 10 three-pointers in a first-round upset over Kentucky.

Gohlke made headlines for striking his first name, image, and likeness deal with TurboTax hours after the victory. But that was just the beginning. “It’s been interesting to try to navigate the whole space,” he says. “There’s obviously a lot getting thrown at you in a quick amount of time.” Gohlke’s college career ended when Oakland lost to NC State in the second round. So what’s he been up to since?

TurboTax is still on board with Gohlke. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we keep working together,” he says. He has also inked NIL deals with Buffalo Wild Wings, Barstool Sports, the recovery footwear brand Oofos, and the AI spreadsheet tool Formula Bot—plus he’s selling merchandise on the NIL Store, a marketplace backed by Mark Cuban. “It’s definitely been appreciated,” Gohlke says of the new cash intake. “Getting some of these opportunities and just trying to take advantage of them because they obviously don’t come around all the time.”

Last week in Phoenix, ahead of the men’s Final Four, Gohlke competed in the 2024 State Farm College Slam Dunk & 3-Point Championships. Now, he’s signed with JCK Sports Group as he pursues a career in professional basketball. (He may be headed to Europe if things don’t work out with an NBA G League team.)

Parting Advice

For whoever ends up being next year’s Jack Gohlke, the best advice the man can give is to find someone trustworthy to help manage the craziness that ensues, and stay educated on the fine print of anything one signs up for. “It’s all great when things are coming in fast at you, but for one, you don’t want to take every deal,” he says. “You don’t want to partner with 30 brands or brands that have bad reputations.” And, of course, don’t forget about taxes, Gohlke says: “Say you get a million-dollar deal—I wish I had gotten a million-dollar deal—but say you did, you’re not actually bringing home a million dollars. We all know that, but it’s kind of hard, once you see that money go into your bank account, to remember that.”

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