Last Updated on March 9, 2023
Maliyah Spencer, a freshman outside hitter on the Allen University women’s volleyball team, was the first athlete to land an NIL deal at Allen in November of last year.
Represented by Darren Wilson of MRM Sport & Entertainment, Spencer released merchandise with Make-A-Ball, a custom design website that allows users to create their own volleyballs, footballs and soccer balls.
“It feels nice knowing that from the short amount of time I’ve been there [Allen University] I’ve already had some stuff going for me,” said Spencer.
Alongside a custom volleyball featuring photos of Spencer, her number and list of accolades she received this past season, the Arizona native also released her own trading cards, can cooler, puzzle, magnet and rally towel.
A Successful Freshman Campaign
In Allen’s first official season as a Division II volleyball team, Spencer was a three-time Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Newcomer of the Week and also voted Offensive Player of the Week. She also led the team in kills with 281 on the season.
Her success on the court carries over into the classroom.
“First off, my wife and I are proud to be her parents because of her classroom accomplishments,” said Spencer’s father, Malachi Spencer III. “The fact that she finished first semester with a 4.0 GPA, and is one of 24 student-athletes to do so.”
Spencer III has played a pivotal role in his daughter’s NIL journey. Despite being a criminal investigator for Homeland Security, he’s also a proud volleyball dad who initially contacted Wilson to work with his daughter.
“My dad went ahead and figured all that out for me, I didn’t know where to start at all,” Spencer said.
And figure it out he did.
Spencer III turned to Google in late September of last year with hopes of getting involved in the NIL sphere. After combing through a list of companies who represent athletes at historically black collages or universities (HBCUs), he reached out to Wilson, who agreed to work with the father-daughter duo.
“I’m glad we were able to match together and hopefully some things start picking up for her,” Spencer III said.
With her freshman campaign coming to an end, Spencer is looking to team up with the haircare brand, Not Your Mother’s, to promote their curly hair product line, Curl Talk.
HBCU Female Athlete NIL Deals
Although there are plenty of student athletes utilizing their name, image and likeness, the pool gets significantly smaller when looking at female athletes at HBCUs.
La’Quanza Glover, who played in her least season of basketball at Edward Waters University last year, became the first HBCU female athlete to sign an NIL deal with Global Freight & Commerce in December of 2021.
Joining Glover in November last year was two North Carolina Central University athletes: Jalea Culliver (golf) and Tori Wilson (volleyball). The pair signed with Alan Incorporated and Favor Desserts, becoming the third and fourth brand ambassadors for each company.
Joining Glover, Culliver and Wilson, Spencer has made her own history as the first student-athlete to have an NIL deal at Allen University. But her career is far from over, Spencer has three more years to continue her dominance athletically and academically.
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