Saint Peter’s Cinderella Story
If you’ve been watching March Madness so far, you’re either excited or angry at the bracket buster, Saint Peter’s University of Jersey City, New Jersey, who, seeded 15th, took down the number 2 seeded University of Kentucky Wildcats in the first round. The Cinderella journey continued for Saint Peter’s all the way to the Elite 8 knocking off Number 10 seed Murray State and Number 3 Seed Purdue.
The journey finally ended with the clock striking midnight with a 20 point loss to the North Carolina Tarheels, a win that would have put them in the Final Four, for the first time ever. Saint Peter’s last appeared in the NCAA Tournament in 2011 and this was their fourth appearance ever.
Win for Edert
However, despite the loss, it’s a win for Saint Peter’s University, in terms of alumni donations and applications. Also, perhaps, it’s a basketball pivot for the school, which has gained great visibility in the basketball community. Prominent alumni like John Stockton from Gonzaga or Steph Curry’s Davidson bring visibility to their alma maters thereby increasing interest from top high school players and thus turning them into basketball powerhouses. Maybe Saint Peter’s becomes the new place where sixth men guards, like their own, Doug Edert, the mustachioed James Franco look-alike, come from. Or maybe not.
Regardless of the future for Saint Peter’s, Edert has already capitalized on the team’s unlikely three wins of the tournament. Scoring 20 points against Kentucky, 13 against Murray State, and 10 against Purdue, he was the #3 scorer on the team during the regular season. However, his game play and perhaps his stache brought attention to him. (The stache has earned him comparisons to adult film actors or Ted Lasso which he has embraced.)
Buffalo Wild Wings offered him a sponsorship, utilizing the new NIL rules, offering him the ability to monetize his collegiate career. He also launched a Dougie Buckets apparel collection on Barstool Sports. Edert is only a junior so potentially more sponsorships could come.
The Criminal Justice major most likely will not be drafted into the NBA and the 7 figure salaries being offered to the opponents that he beat. However NIL gives him a chance to earn big money where big money is being earned, like during March Madness when a Cinderella story happens. Brands want to capitalize on the affability of the underdog and NIL is the perfect opportunity to do so.
NIL for All
The flexibility and quickness of brands to see where eyeballs are shifting to is essential in the quick changing world we live in. Edert is in today, perhaps gone tomorrow. However, he was able to capitalize on his “15 minutes” of fame because of NIL. (Or maybe because of the NIL opportunity, he goes on to an influencer, media, or brand career.)
Hopefully as the emotional world of college sports becomes more televised we will see more of these athletes be able to monetize their performances rather than have the schools make the bulk of the revenue. The majority of the NCAA’s athletes will not go on to make professional athlete money and even the top athletes in more obscure sports have a more challenging road of potential Olympic stardom. NIL gives these athletes a chance for a media career and an opportunity to take chips off the table.
Are you a college athlete? Have you signed an NIL deal? What do you think of NIL? Are you pro NIL or against it?
Are you a brand that has worked with a college athlete under the new rules? Or are you avoiding NIL until there is more clarification? Let us know via email.