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Monday, May 20, 2024

The Biggest Star at the Men’s Final Four Mostly Missed the NIL Gold Rush

  • NIL laws prevent players on international visas from making deals.
  • Edey is aware changing the law can’t happen overnight.
Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports

Zach Edey’s Purdue career will end after Monday’s national championship game against Connecticut, and he has had two consecutive National Player of the Year awards, a Final Four run, and the school is already retiring his No. 15 jersey. 

And he’s barely profited off it. 

While NC State’s DJ Burns piled up NIL deals along the way of his team’s Cinderella run to the Final Four, Edey has not become a legend at the bank. 

“I feel like I’m missing out on a lot of money,” Edey said at the Final Four ahead of Purdue’s win that clinched a title game berth.

Edey is Canadian and attending Purdue on a visa, which means he is legally unable to make money off NIL deals that take place in the U.S. But there are exceptions. He is able to make NIL deals outside the country and also off his jersey sales. 

It’s unlikely Edey will be college basketball’s last international star as the game continues to become more global. Many NBA stars are foreign such as Nikola Jokić, Luka Dončić, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jamal Murray, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. The latter two both played college basketball at Kentucky and would have faced the same problem Edey has. 

“I hope they change it in the future,” Edey said. “I obviously have lost out on a lot of money this year. At the end of the day, it needs to change, for sure. I understand kind of the legal process. It takes a while.

“It’s not like it’s an NCAA rule. It’s an American law. Anytime you try to go change that, I understand it takes a while. But I do think it needs to change.”

Matt Painter, Edey’s coach at Purdue, backed his star player when discussing NIL and said it showed how far it’s come in its short existence and how far it still has to go. 

“We have to get some parameters around what we’re actually doing and what’s actually going on and not try to just do something so we can stay out of the courts,” Painter said. “That’s all things [that] are happening because for a long time, what’s the product? The product is the player. They’re viewed as amateurs, but they weren’t amateurs.

“There’s a lot of money generated through what they’re doing. Name, image, and likeness needed to happen. We just got to get some guardrails around it to be able to get there.”

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