Today is a landmark day for college athletes, not just in the world of wrestling. As of today, college athletes have the ability to monetize their name, image and equality (NIL) without jeopardizing their eligibility. Although this will take effect on July 1, there are still plenty of i’s to be punctured and it needs to be crossed for how this will happen. Not all states, conferences and universities will be on the same page and operate under the same rules. Some of the lowercase letters and actual rules can get a little boring, so we decided to have some fun and matched some of college wrestling’s biggest stars with potential approval ideas. Some of these ideas are well thought out and serious. Others make a good laugh, but maybe it can work too. So enjoy and let us know some of your suggestions in the comments.
AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State) – The best mother-and-pop Italian restaurant in Stillwater. AJ and his family are very proud of their Italian heritage. How about a series of commercials on local TV with Ferrari as Ferrari? Hilarity follows.
The possibilities are endless for 665 lb-related shirts and the like. We look past ads for Ferrari sports cars, it’s low hanging fruit.
Spencer Lee (Iowa) – Pokemon. It was his introductory music; you might as well join something you like.
Gable Steveson (Minnesota) – Nike. Nike has a history of building its respective brand around a particular athlete. Michael Jordan took the company from the middle of the package to the clear number one in the sports shoes and apparel industry. Nike Golf was almost non-existent before Tiger Woods. Steveson could fit the bill as a dominant, hip, slightly angular cornerstone in their wrestling market. Plus, the Olympic exposure does not hurt.
Yianni Diakomihalis (Cornell) – Nike. There are already a number of shoes for basketball player Giannis Antetokounmpo, the “Greek freak”. How about a similar line to the wrestling version of the same name?
Trent Hidlay (NC State) – Sheetz. The Twitter handle is Hoagie Hidlay, and he pulled one out after his Who’s # 1 win. Rumor has it that Hidlay is a Sheetz guy. Sheetz vs WaWa is a heated topic among East Coast sandwiches and grocery stores.
Michael Kemerer (Iowa) – Advil. It’s always a kind of gut hole to see some of your favorite athletes approve products aimed at an older generation. Shaquille O’Neal, Brett Favre and others have gone down this road. Kemerer has said his teammates refer to him as “grandfather.” He seems to have a sense of humor; you might as well lean into the joke.
David Carr (State of Iowa) – BMW. It’s not really the car brand that matters, any kind of sports car works. But the far-joke narrator in me can think of a hundred cheesy lines, as Carr says, “This Carr goes 0-60 in so many seconds,” “High-performance Carr,” and so on.
Shane Griffith (Stanford) – Investment company. Again, I can imagine more cheesy lines. “Hi, I may have saved 11 sports, but I really want to help you save money”.
Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State) – Anything. The guy gets it. In the last year, he has put solid content on social media and built up a good following. He would be a good face for a company.
Austin O’Connor (North Carolina) – Cheez-It. Why not? (with permission from @ dysgold_2005)
Evan Wick (Cal Poly) – Yankee Candle. Candles with a really long wick (with permission from @ jagger712)
Daton Fix (Oklahoma State) / Cam Caffey (Michigan State) / Michael Beard (Penn State) – A kind of hair / beard products.
Micky Phillipi / Jake Wentzel / Nino Bonaccorsi (Pittsburgh) – Primanti Bros. – The famous sandwich shop is closely connected to Pittsburgh, and we have three of the Panthers’ superstars from the greater Pittsburgh area. Sounds like a perfect fit.