Top College Baseball, Softball Players Ink NIL Deals Following CWS Runs

The College World Series is among the top athletic events of the summer, showcasing some of the nation’s most gifted athletes in baseball and softball. This year’s tournaments were nothing short of spectacular. The Women’s College World Series final between the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners attracted 2 million viewers, making it the most-watched WCWS Finals in history. Meanwhile, the Men’s College World Series final between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Texas A&M Aggies brought in an average of 2.82 million viewers, just shy of the record 2.86 million viewers that tuned in last year.

In addition to drawing millions of viewers, both series, similar to the March Madness tournaments, garnered significant attention from brands through various NIL deals.

Softball

Oklahoma Sooners 

The University of Oklahoma Sooners made history by capturing their fourth straight Women’s College World Series championship. The Sooners swept the Texas Longhorns in a best-of-three series. To capitalize on this historic triumph, the Sooners partnered with the apparel company Athlete’s Thread to release a signature merchandise line inspired by their team slogan, “21 vs. Everybody”. The phrase was introduced by players Jayda Coleman and Rylie Boone and personified the mindset the Sooners embodied throughout the season. The “21 vs. Everybody” merchandise features T-shirts and hoodies with the slogan allowing the Sooner faithful to represent their historic journey.

Tennessee Lady Volunteers

The Lady Vol Boost Her Club, a Tennessee-based collective signed the entire Vols roster to NIL deals. The collective has varying membership levels at which supporters of Lady Vol athletics can contribute to their NIL success. Although the Lady Vols lost in the Super Regional to the Alabama Crimson Tide, they will be strong contenders to go deep in the tournament once again next season.

Ole Miss Rebels 

The Grove Collective, dedicated to leveraging NIL opportunities for Ole Miss athletes, signed the softball team to a team-wide NIL deal. Even though the details of the NIL agreement have not been released, this move shows the continued support the Rebels receive from the community.

NiJaree Canady 

Former Stanford pitching sensation NiJaree Canady signed a NIL deal with MLB Playball Weekend. She joined MLB in New York City for the event as part of the agreement. Canady is represented by the softball-focused Players Collective Agency. Further, Canady was honored with the 2024 USA Softball Player of The Year award after posting a 0.73 ERA and 337 strikeouts over 230.2 total innings this season.

Jun 3, 2024; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Stanford Cardinals starting pitcher/relief pitcher NiJaree Canady (24) throws a pitch in the first inning against the Texas Longhorns during a Women’s College World Series softball semifinal game at Devon Park. Photo courtesy: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports via Imagn

Gabriela Jaquez 

Before the College World Series began, UCLA Bruins dual-sport athlete Gabriela Jaquez leveraged her NIL to launch her signature apparel line. Jaquez’s line includes number 32 jerseys, tees, and crewnecks featuring her in her softball and basketball uniforms. Jaquez, the sister of Miami Heat forward Jaime Jaquez Jr., will continue to be a cornerstone of UCLA’s success on the court and the softball diamond. 

Baseball 

Tennessee Volunteers

Before their title run, the College Baseball World Series Champion Tennessee Volunteers signed a team-wide NIL deal with the Volunteer Collective. Each player wore a commemorative Men’s College World Series tees to honor the agreement. On the front of the shirt were the words “Volunteer Club,” with the number 24 to commemorate this year’s World Series, and Omaha on the back. In addition to the players sporting the collective-influenced tees, the shirts are also available to purchase for fans.

The Tennessee baseball team celebrates on stage during the NCAA Baseball National Championship celebration in Downtown Knoxville on Tuesday, June 25, 2024. Photo courtesy: Angelina Alcantar/News Sentinel via Imagn

South Carolina Gamecocks

Emerging shoe company Hey Dude, specializing in casual and comfortable footwear, signed nine University of South Carolina baseball players. Dylan Brewer, Michael Braswell, Gavin Casas, Carson Hornung, Jonathan French, Cole Messina, Braylen Wimmer, Ethan Petry, and Will Tippett are the latest Hey Dude NIL roster additions. As a part of this partnership, each player will promote the shoe brand through multiple social media channels. Each player participated in a group video to announce the partnership. With this campaign, Hey Dude seeks to enhance its presence in the collegiate sports community and promote its products to a broader audience by leveraging the influence and reach of these college athletes.

Jac Caglianone

Florida Gators utility baseball player Jac Caglianone signed a first-of-its-kind NIL deal with Topps and Fanatics. The first baseman is the first college baseball player to ink NIL deals with the two trading card companies.

Hunter Dietz

University of Arkansas pitcher Hunter Dietz signed an NIL deal with Dietz & Watson for their ‘Dietz Nutz’ product line. Dietz was featured in a Dietz and Watson social media video, asking, “Never heard of Dietz Nuts?” The pitcher asked with a knowing laugh in a commercial filmed to celebrate the deal. Dietz & Watson considered the deal a “match made in hot dog heaven.” Arkansas Edge NIL collective was responsible for brokering the deal. Despite only appearing in two games this past season, the pitcher will be a pivotal contributor to the Razorbacks’ bullpen next season. 

Author

  • Darian Kelly

    Darian is a Sports Industry Management graduate of Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies. Darian hosts The Jersey Podcast and is a sports documentary fanatic who loves to talk professional and college football and basketball.

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