Moneyball: A look at Xavier basketball’s involvement in NIL

By Charlie Gstalder, Op-Ed Editor

Last year, I wrote a sports opinion piece on how the firing of former Xavier basketball Head Coach Travis Steele made perfect sense when considered from a financial angle. This year, I’m back for another look into the monetary atmosphere of Head Coach Sean Miller’s first year back at Xavier.

With many at Xavier hoping Miller can bring the immense national exposure and reputational boost that Xavier has lacked since its last tournament berth in 2018, much attention has been given to Miller’s upcoming recruiting class which already features multiple four-star prospects.

Under new Name Image and Likeness (NIL) guidelines adopted by the NCAA in 2021, those same top level recruits have the opportunity to monetize their college playing careers. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that 2014 Xavier graduate Anthony Breen has taken the lead in the creation of NIL merch for the Muskies.

Breen’s idea, a nonprofit online store in which Xavier’s basketball players work together with graphic designers to create unique designs representing themselves. The player centric clothes, alongside broader team and program designs, currently sell for between 35 and 65 dollars on the website Musketeergear. 

While the top google result for “Musketeer Gear” is currently a website selling model swords and medieval armor, Musketeergear is right behind, already signaling its potential as a revenue stream. The enquirer reports that the majority of the funds from sales of the merchandise go directly to the athletes, with a Xavier NIL fund and the Xavier All for One Fund receiving the rest.

Additionally, Xavier Athletics has partnered with the Opendorse marketplace. Opendorse describes itself as an online marketplace in which athletes can work to build their brand and solicit or receive sponsorship offers. Xavier Athletics’ article on the partnership notes that once a deal is reached between both parties, it is automatically disclosed to Xavier’s compliance office, ensuring NIL compliance. 

Xavier’s platform on Opendorse features profiles of athletes from a variety of Xavier sports (Newswire’s own Gus Nations has yet to appear on the site.)

Xavier basketball players profiles on Opendorse advertise endorsement opportunities starting in price at $11 for players including Dieonte Miles and Mikayla Hayes, $21 for players such as Aanaya Harris and Kam Craft and $25 for deals with players including Colby Jones and Robert Nunge. 

Selecting an athletes’ profile on Opendorse reveals a list of potential endorsement opportunities. Jerome Hunter, for example, will autograph an item for $73 or attend a practice or event starting at $128. There is also the possibility to create and pitch a custom offer to an athlete.