College athletes are finally cashing in on their hard work!
Ky’Wuan Dukes is making history as the first HBCU athlete to sign an endorsement deal, partnering with Bojangles, Black Enterprise reports.
Dukes is a freshman wide receiver at Johnson C. Smith University. Since the National Collegiate Athletic Association(NCAA) ruling allowing student-athletes to profit off their names, images, and likeness (NIL), Duke has joined several other collegiate level athletes hiring agents and inking endorsement deals with major companies.
The ruling went into effect July 1st. Dukes became the first student-athlete attending a historically Black college or university to sign an endorsement deal, partnering with popular Charlotte, North Carolina-based fast-food franchise Bojangles.
Before the NIL ruling, the NCAA has always fought against student-athletes profiting off themselves, despite their talent bringing in significant dollars for universities. The new ruling gives athletes a chance to get in front of their brand and diversify their portfolio for those who may never go pro.
“It’s already hard for us as it is. 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 told reporters.
The ruling is a massive pivot for student-athletes who have long been stifled by strict NCAA rules that regulated everything from clothing to food stipends. For those struggling financially or those not on a full scholarship, the new ruling will help them tremendously. New companies are also springing up, like the Black-owned tech venture Athlytic, which is helping bridge the gap between brands and student-athletes and assist students with monetizing themselves.
Both Dukes and Bojangles are excited to be embarking on new territory.
“We’re thrilled to have Ky’Wuan join Team Bojangles as the first HBCU athlete on our roster. We look forward to continuing our partnerships with HBCUs and athletes throughout our footprint,” Jackie Woodward, chief brand and marketing officer at Bojangles said.
Dukes joins several other HBCU college athletes inking lucrative endorsement deals, including Alabama A&M receiver Zabrian Moore, Alabama A&M running back Gary Charles, Jackson State player Antwan Owen, Norfolk State’s Rayquan Smith, and Tennessee State University’s Hercy Miller.
Congratulations, Ky’Wuan! We wish you continued success!
Photo Courtesy of @kyupnext3/Twitter