Name, image, and likeness deals — better known as NIL deals — will forever alter the landscape of amateur athletics as it finally allows student-athletes to position themselves to monetize their talents.
A recent study from Sponsor United ranked the top-ten NIL dealmakers in collegiate sports from January 1, 2022, to March 1, 2023, with student-athletes from HBCUs ranking first and second on the list.
Norfolk State track athlete Rayquan Smith, who had been dubbed the “King of NIL,” had 56 NIL deals under his belt in the time frame listed on the report. Smith’s success in acquiring partnerships earned him the Hustle Award at the 2022 NIL Awards. Smith, whose first deal was with Smart Cups, was the first HBCU Athlete to sign a NIL deal with Eastbay.
Other notable brands Smith has dealt with include Body Armour, G.O.A.T., Fuel, Arby’s Champs Sports, and the Norfolk Admirals hockey team.
Last January, Smith was the first guest on Showtime’s “KG CERTIFIED: YOUNG LIONS.”
Johnson C. Smith redshirt wideout Ky’Wuan Dukes, the first HBCU athlete to sign a NIL deal with fast food restaurant Bojangles in 2021, has 29 deals to his credit, including Rowdy Energy, douxds, Scentcraft Custom Fragrance, and Body Armour.