New era of offers for college players means commercial considerations, like taxes



In a way, they live a professional experience.

“It’s been a learning experience,” said Mitch Lightfoot, a sixth-year Kansas player who, despite his reserve role, managed to land endorsement deals with a water bottle company and a fast food joint in Lawrence, Kan. “And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s going to be so different around this time next year.

Final Four men’s and women’s players, already in programs that are getting a lot of attention, have gained an even bigger platform at the end of the tournaments.

Female players could attract even more lucrative opportunities.

As a gender equity report that looked at both men’s and women’s tournaments noted, Connecticut star Paige Bueckers had more Instagram followers last year than the starting rosters of men’s teams combined. of the Final Four. She became the first college athlete to sign a sponsorship deal with Gatorade.

Aliyah Boston, the South Carolina star who succeeded Bueckers as Naismith Player of the Year, formed a limited company more than a year ago in anticipation of being able to make money from to his stature as a basketball player. She also hired a marketing agent.

Boston has two major deals, with a salon and a chain of restaurants, but expects more next year. “I’m going to speak it so it exists,” said his mother, Cleone.

Cleone Boston said she and her husband, Al, had long preached to their daughters about the importance of being wise with money. When Aliyah Boston and her older sister, Alexis, were in elementary school, their mother stopped the car and turned to talk to them when she saw a beautiful car, an Infinity, parked in a space marked “renters only” in front of an apartment building.

“I said, ‘Do you see that sign? Read it,” Cleone said. “Why would you buy such an expensive car if you’re paying someone to rent a place?”