Youth-skewing retailer American Eagle has recruited a team of student athletes — among them USC Trojans quarterback Kedon Slovis (pictured above), Auburn Tigers running back Tank Bigsby, and LSU gymnast (and TikTok star) Olivia Dunne — as part of its brand new influencer program.
AdWeek reports that American Eagle’s #AEAthleticDept initiative arrives after the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) decreed on July 1 that student athletes would finally be able to make money using their name, image, and likeness (NIL) — including social media activities, brand deals, merch, personal appearances, and more.
The NCAA’s aboutface arrived after a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court in June, which concluded that education-related benefit caps on student athletes also violated U.S. antitrust laws.
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AdWeek reports that American Eagle plans to announce many more student athlete partners in the not-so-distant future, who will create national marketing content for the company, feature on its website and blog, and participate in local community giveback events.
“The ruling that brands could work with NCAA athletes was game-changing,” American Eagle CMO Craig Brommers told AdWeek, noting that an influx of athletes have been reaching out since the guidelines changed. “At AE, our core audience is age 15 to 25, and college is an important part of that demographic.”
Previously, student athletes could face steep punishments for their business pursuits. In 2018, for instance, University of Central Florida footballer Donald ‘Deestroying’ De La Haye (3.7 million subscribers) lost his scholarship for his YouTube pursuits.