Making that money. WWE has announced that they have signed a number of collegiate athletes to NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) deals in order to create a potential pathway for them to be signed to developmental contracts in the future. This new venture, named “Next In Line”, is the company’s latest endeavor to find the next generation of superstars.
The athletes signed are as follows:
- Carlos Aviles, of Ventura, Calif., a 6-foot-6, 305-pound track & field athlete from Ohio State University
- Haley Cavinder, of Gilbert, Ariz., a 5-foot-6 basketball player from Fresno State University
- Hanna Cavinder, of Gilbert, Ariz., a 5-foot-6 basketball player from Fresno State University
- A.J. Ferrari of Dallas, Texas, a 6-foot, 200-pound wrestler from Oklahoma State University
- Lexi Gordon of Fort Worth, Texas, a 6-foot basketball player from Duke University
- Aleeya Hutchins of Toronto, Canada, a 5-foot-5 track & field athlete from Wake Forest University
- John Krahn of Riverside, Calif., a 7-foot, 400-pound football player from Portland State University
- Glen Logan of Kenner, La., a 6-foot-5, 305-pound football player from LSU
- Isaac Odugbesan of Lagos, Nigeria, a 6-foot-4, 275-pound football player from the University of Alabama
- Mason Parris of Lawrenceburg, Ind., a 6-foot-2, 275-pound wrestler from the University of Michigan
- Masai Russel of Potomac, Md., a 5-foot-5 track & field athlete from the University of Kentucky
- Jon Seaton of Hillsborough, N.J., a 6-foot-1, 285-pound football player from Elon University
- Joe Spivak of Lombard, Ill., a 6-foot, 300-pound football player from Northwestern University
- Dalton Wagner of Spring Grove, Ill., a 6-foot-9, 330-pound football player from the University of Arkansas
- Riley White of Hoover, Ala., a 5-foot-6 track & field athlete from the University of Alabama
NIL is a new venture that officially became law on July 1 of this year. Under the new laws, collegiate athletes now have the opportunity to monetize their name, image and likeness, which they were unable to do in the past, due to their amateur status.
ESPN has also noted that the Cavinder twins, Haley and Hanna, who play on the Fresno State women’s basketball team, have nearly 700,000 Instagram followers combined, and their joint TikTok account has almost 4 million.
AJ Ferrari, an Oklahoma State wrestler and NCAA national champion nicknamed “Mr. Fast Twitch,” has nearly 70,000 Instagram followers.
Check out what has led WWE to find these athletes:
This is an interesting venture for WWE and I like that they are tapping into the NIL market. However, the timing of this seems odd as the company has released almost 80 wrestlers in 2021 alone, so having a fresh crop of talent in the works, while releasing some of their most talented superstars, makes this seem like it’s all about money and not about loyalty. This has the workings of a bad look, in my opinion.
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