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WWE Announces Inaugural “Next In Line” NIL Class of College Athletes

15 athletes have the chance to earn WWE contracts after completion of program

WWE NIL class
Photo credit: WWE

Just last week WWE announced their unique “Next in Line” NIL program that would offer select college athletes to train like WWE stars – both in and out of the ring – with the chance to earn a contract upon completion. Today, the professional wrestling, media and entertainment company revealed their inaugural class of athletes, headlined by NIL stars Haley and Hanna Cavinder, twin sisters on the Fresno State women’s basketball team. 

The “Next in Line” class – that spans 13 schools, seven conferences, four sports and three countries – will have access to the state-of-the-art WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Fla., and the breadth of WWE’s athlete brand building services including media training, live event promotion, creative writing and community relations. After completing the program, select athletes may earn a WWE contract. 

“The WWE NIL program has the potential to be transformational to our business,” said Paul Levesque, WWE Executive Vice President, Global Talent Strategy and Development. “By creating partnerships with elite athletes at all levels across a wide variety of college sports, we will dramatically expand our pool of talent and create a system that readies NCAA competitors for WWE once their collegiate careers come to a close.” 

In addition to the Cavinder Twins – and recent Olympic gold medalist Gable Steveson and defending NCAA champion for the University of Minnesota who joined WWE via a NIL deal in September – the “Next in Line” class includes: 

  • Carlos Aviles, Ohio State University track & field 
  • Haley Cavinder, Fresno State University basketball 
  • Hanna Cavinder, Fresno State University basketball 
  • A.J. Ferrari, Oklahoma State University wrestling 
  • Lexi Gordon, Duke University basketball 
  • Aleeya Hutchins, Wake Forest University track & field 
  • John Krahn, Portland State University football 
  • Glen Logan, LSU football 
  • Isaac Odugbesan, University of Alabama football 
  • Mason Parris, University of Michigan wrestling 
  • Masai Russel, University of Kentucky track & field 
  • Jon Seaton, Elon University football 
  • Joe Spivak, Northwestern University football 
  • Dalton Wagner, University of Arkansas football 
  • Riley White, University of Alabama track & field 

Athletes who wish to be considered for future “Next in Line” programs can apply directly with WWE via www.WWE.com/NIL

Author

  • Michael Ehrlich is a seasoned sports marketing executive with experience on the brand (adidas), athlete (Independent Sports & Entertainment) and media (FOX Sports) sides of the business. Now consulting for a variety of brands, Michael’s recent clients include Netflix, Nike/Converse, Red Bull, Tom Brady's NFT company Autograph and Blue Wire Podcasts, among others. He is also a columnist for UPROXX/Dime Magazine's where he writes the “Athlete Heat Index,” analyzing and ranking athletes by the strength of their personal brands. Outside of the office, Michael is a mentor for the TGR Foundation, A Tiger Woods Charity and serves on the board of advisors for the University of Southern California's Sports Business Association.

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