Celsius Inks NIL Deals With Four Freshman Athletes

Last Updated on January 29, 2024

The energy drink company Celsius recently inked name, image, and likeness deals with four freshman college athletes.

The freshman athletes Celsius signed include:

  • Jared McCain from Duke University (MBB)
  • Cody Williams from the University of Colorado (MBB)
  • Kwame Evans from the University of Oregon (MBB)
  • Juju Watkins from the University of South Carolina (WBB)

Athletes Celsius have also signed this past year include:

  • Blake Corum from the University of Michigan (Football)
  • Michael Phenix Jr. from  the University of Washington (Football) 
  • Travis Hunter from Colorado University (Football)

Although Celsius has been active in the NIL space and is found on college campuses nationwide, it has also been quite the hot topic regarding its permissibility under NCAA regulations. Over the past few years, numerous athletic departments across the United States have directed their athletes not to drink Celsius because of the drink’s high concentration of caffeine. Many sites have made claims about this ban with mention of a study conducted by the NCAA, yet there has been no official statement from the governing body.

Caffeine in high amounts is banned by the NCAA, but ingredients like taurine have been subject to question. The Banned Substances Control Group, a third-party certification and testing organization believes that drinking the beverage is within the rules of the NCAA.

“Unfortunately, there has been a lot of misinformation shared suggesting that ingredients like ginseng, guarana, L-carnitine and taurine are illegal stimulants or that guarana is subject to total ban under NCAA regulations,” the organization said in a press release. “They are not.”

On the 2022-2023 NCAA Banned Substances list, the organization identified guarana as an example of a stimulant. It also states that an athlete’s drug test will be positive if their urine sample exceeds 15 micrograms per milliliter. Some sources have claimed that the amounts of caffeine in the drink are equal to five cups of coffee. But without a direct statement from the NCAA saying the drink specifically is banned, Celsius is just like every other energy drink, and athletes are allowed to consume it in moderation.

No doubt, Celsius is using NIL as an opportunity to partner directly with student athletes and combat the misconception that it is a banned substance in college athletics.


  • Ashley Twilley

    Ashley Twilley is fourth-year public relations student at the University of Florida, specializing in sports management. Her academic pursuits are notably underscored by a fervent curiosity regarding the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights applicable to college athletes.

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