The Xavier tennis fifth-year has earned various endorsement and media deals
By Joe Clark, Sports Page Editor
The NCAA changed their policy on July 1 to allow collegiate athletes to profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL).
Athletes around the country are taking advantage of the policy, with Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers being the latest big name college athlete to ink a deal worth over $1 million.
Multiple Xavier athletes are taking advantage of the policy with various deals both on a local and national scale, but no one has been quite as active as fifth-year tennis player Ahmeir Kyle.
Kyle has earned NIL deals with Western & Southern to promote the recent Western & Southern Open tournament in the form of a commercial and other promotional materials. The commercial aired during the Western & Southern Open and will be shown during the U.S. Open.
She also has NIL deals with Bo and Tee, a female athletic wear company, Underdog Athletics and Pope Fitness, in addition to other companies.
Kyle was paid for the commercial but said that other deals give her free clothes in exchange for an Instagram post promoting the company.
“What it’s been thus far is they will reach out to me and say go to our site and pick out what you like and we’ll send it to you for free and then in exchange we just want you to post on Instagram and tag us,” Kyle said.
She also said that the companies usually reach out to her instead of her reaching out to them.
Kyle, who has 13.5k followers on Instagram, said it’s not too hard for her to get NIL deals because of her following.
Comparing how difficult it is for an Olympic sport athlete to get an NIL deal compared to a basketball or football player, Kyle felt lucky. “I think from the outside looking in, for my teammates I would say yes, it is harder for tennis, but for me it’s not so much because of the amount of followers I have on Instagram. I think that’s the only reason why I’m getting so many people contacting me,” Kyle said.
She also mentioned she’s had more people reach out to her for NIL deals than her boyfriend, who is on the basketball team.
“I think it just has to do with how many followers you have,” she added.
She also said she has no current plans to market herself and will keep letting companies approach her for deals.
Besides getting free clothes and gear from the companies she promotes, she’s also able to grow her brand through her posts.
“When I do make a post for them, almost everyone that’s reached out to me has hundreds of thousands of followers, so when I make a post they’ll just repost what I post and then that helps me gain an audience,” she explained.
Kyle chose to come back this season for her extra year of eligibility granted by COVID-19, and she said that NIL played a bit of a factor in her decision to return.
“The main thing was I’ll have another shot at the NCAA Tournament, and then I was like, oh they’re starting the NIL next year, so I wonder what that will look like for me.”
While women’s tennis will play some exhibition games later in the fall, their road to repeat as Big East Champions won’t officially begin until the spring.