At the end of June, college sports changed drastically as the NCAA ruled that college athletes could profit from their name, image and likeness. In a matter of moments, athletes began working on startups, tapping in with business professionals and plotting their next steps. Leading the way, Jackson State University football player Antwan Owens became the first Division I football player to sign an endorsement deal. Moving forward, Owens will work as an ambassador for 3 Kings Grooming, a black-owned hair product business.
“We’re making history,” Michael Nwankwo of 3 Kings Grooming told Sports Illustrated.
“We’ve gone through the roster on JSU’s team. We saw Antwan. He fit the mold of what our brand is. We have an image of our brand.”
Not long after Owens II signed a deal with 3 Kings Grooming, another HBCU athlete signed a major endorsement deal. Weeks after Percy Miller teased the partnership, Tennessee State University Men's Basketball star Hercy Miller inked a $2 million deal with an "American technology company."
"It was a 2 million dollar deal. It's incredible. This is gonna change the way college athletes want to stay in school," Percy Miller told TMZ Sports.
"I signed a deal with an American technology company. Like my dad said, it's a blessing," Hercy Miller added.
Moving forward, endorsement deals can do a great job of promoting HBCU sports. Athletes can not only secure funds for themselves and their families, but they can also pave the way for future athletes while building relationships that can last a lifetime.
“For us, HBCUs are very important,” Eric Nwankwo added.
“The main colleges get the credit and no one really pays attention to the HBCUs. What [Jackson State University Head Football Coach Deion Sanders] is trying to do to get these athletes paid and recognized, that’s why this was our first choice.”