First College Football Athlete With Down Syndrome Inks NIL Deal

Last Updated on July 27, 2022

The first person born with Down syndrome to play and score in a college football contest did not stop writing in the history books after the season ended. On Monday, June 6, 2022, Hocking College kicker Caden Cox used MOGL, an NIL marketplace, to sign a deal to create his own clothing line and become Chief Brand Ambassador for Jake Max, an apparel brand on a mission to maximize the creativity of people with special needs through art.

Cox, who kicked four successful extra points for the Hocking Hawks during the 2021 football season, has his own exhibit in the College Football Hall of Fame. Through his NIL partnership with Jake Max, Cox will be receiving a percentage of the sales he helps generate for the collection that features his artwork.

“I’m so happy. This is awesome. “I’m excited for the amazing chance to share my artwork and experience entrepreneurship through my new Jake Max merchandise collection,” said Cox. “It is awesome to spread awareness and to support my community, and through Jake Max and MOGL, that’s exactly what I’m doing.”

“It is important for Caden and us, as a family, to share our mission of Kickin’ Down Barriers’ to inclusion and acceptance of all,” Caden’s mother, Mari Cox said. “This partnership with Jake Max and MOGL is the perfect platform to express Caden’s creativity and to share, that when one is given the opportunity to use their abilities, the ‘possAbilites’ are endless.

Tyler Greenberg, founder of Jake Max, says the brand is excited to work with Cox.

“We are proudly sharing and amplifying Caden’s creative design and story through clothing,” said Greenberg. “Jake Max focuses on combining apparel, art and advocacy to help people who partner with us discover what it is like and what it means to be an entrepreneur.”

Cox and Jake Max connected through MOGL, a leading NIL marketplace that brings college athletes and businesses together for marketing opportunities. The platform developed a relationship with Jake Max through their collegiate network, as both companies were founded by Notre Dame alumni. MOGL recognized that Cox’s message and Jake Max’s mission were aligned, facilitating an impactful partnership that would make a meaningful difference in the athletics community.

“MOGL is committed to educating and empowering all student-athletes in the most equitable way to maximize their NIL experience,” said Brandon Wimbush, MOGL chief athletic officer and former Notre Dame quarterback. “We make it our priority to guide athletes on the platform to reach their full potential within and outside of their sport.”

Hocking College kicker Caden Cox’s artwork featured on a Jake Max HoodieJAKE MAX

The Jake Max apparel collection designed by Cox features a football with his jersey number on it, soaring through goal posts and reads, “KICKIN’ DOWN BARRIERS.”

Each Jake Max piece is created by a “Maximizer” like Cox, a term the company has coined for the artists with developmental disabilities who create the colorful designs on their merchandise. Maximizers receive 15% of the profits from their designs. 

The son of an artist and an entrepreneur, Greenberg was originally inspired by his twin cousins, Jake and Max, who were born with Fragile X Syndrome. Greenberg thought of the company’s concept from his college dorm as a way to spread awareness for individuals with disabilities like Jake and Max through sharing their unique stories.

Greenberg, who played club hockey and volunteered for Special Olympics at Notre Dame, teamed up with fellow classmates Brett Segobiano and Chris Finke to create the canvas of Jake Max.

“Caden’s story is an inspiration for all of us. I remember first seeing Caden’s kick last fall and witnessing his incredible passion for advocacy which continues to expand across the country today,” said Segobiano. “When MOGL approached us at Jake Max about the possibility of collaborating with Caden, it was the perfect alignment of a shared mission of inclusion.

“Cox’s ability to break records in sports and overcome obstacles throughout his journey has made him an unparalleled match for the Maximizer position.”

Segobiano was a pre-med student and board member of both Special Olympics and Camp Kesem, as well as a running back on the football team his freshman year. Finke was a walk-on wide receiver who, after earning a scholarship as a sophomore, went on to have a successful five-year career with the Fighting Irish, including one as team captain, while also earning a degree in finance.

“It has been such a privilege to work with Caden’s family on this unique partnership,” said Segobiano. “The Cox family shares an incredibly strong passion for Caden’s advocacy, a mission shared along with Jake Max and MOGL. We continue to be amazed by Caden and his fight to create a more inclusive world for all abilities. Jake Max is thrilled to join forces with Caden in this shared mission.”

“With Caden, Jake Max and MOGL’s combined platforms, the disabled athletic youth community will be given a strong voice and support system that encourages them to pursue their passions,” said Ayden Syal, CEO at MOGL.

The trio says they will continue to promote inclusion and entrepreneurial opportunities for all student-athletes and individuals with disabilities. 

“As the NIL space continues to evolve, I personally am most excited to witness athletes such as Caden become empowered to share their voices,” said Segobiano.

To shop Cox’s collection, visit his storefront on the Jake Max website.

I originally published this piece on Forbes

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

No Comments Yet.