UW basketball players taking advantage of NIL deals
LARAMIE -- If you saw Graham Ike last Saturday at the football game -- all 6-foot-10, 252 pounds of him -- you might have noticed his gold shirt, adorning his likeness and palming the "Dome of Doom" with both hands, plastered across the front.
It was hard to miss.
But just incase you did:
As you can see from the Twitter post above, Wyoming's freshman forward now has a partnership with the Brown and Gold Outlet. You can snag his custom t-shirt for just $15.
He's not the only UW basketball player to ink with the official retailer of University of Wyoming Athletics, either.
Freshman Xavier DuSell and redshirt junior Hunter Maldonado also have new threads.
Second-year head coach Jeff Linder joked Monday that his son's already have all three shirts. He also encouraged fans to pick one up.
Last July, the NCAA adopted the NIL policy, allowing student athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness. This time a year ago, a t-shirt like this could land a business in hot water.
Those days are long gone.
"The whole landscape is crazy," Linder said. "Luckily for our guys, I mean, they have an opportunity to do that and that's a step in the right direction ... The NIL stuff is crazy. I mean, that's not what it really was intended to be and it's turned into more of recruiting inducements and just legalized cheating is what it's turned into. So, it's not going to go away, it's not going to change.
"So, I mean, that's where for us -- as a program and as an athletic department -- you have to find ways to help compensate those guys and hopefully help compensate your team."
Matt Lehning, owner of the Brown and Gold Outlet in Laramie and Cheyenne, said these shirts, so far, have sold surprisingly well. He was stunned how many were moved over the weekend.
Lehning, who was a safety for the Cowboy football team from 1998-99, said he wants to give back while also helping the players and university.
"At the end of the day, it's going to benefit these athletes," Lehning said. "I want to find good kids that are appreciative. It's just all so new to everybody. It's all kind of a trial."
Lehning said jerseys are on the way. So is signing additional UW athletes.
UW football players Titus Swen (Live Life Regardless) and Rome Weber (Divergent Individual Apparel) have started clothing lines, while quarterback Sean Chambers put on a football camp in his hometown of Kerman, Calif., this offseason. Other UW players have posted on social media that they are "Barstool Athletes."
Barstool Sports is a digital media company based in Massachusetts. Division-I athletes are encouraged to apply for admission on the site. Once approved, they will receive Barstool merchandise to wear.
Linder knows this is how things work now in the world of college sports.
"It's one of those deals where you can sit there and complain about it, but if I want to sit here and complain about it, I'll probably be a high school coach here in a matter of years," he said. "So, you got to figure out a way to compete with the other teams in your league and around the country in order to be at this level. If not, you might as well go down to Division II."
If you want to order a player t-shirt click right HERE.
Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium
- Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium