Orange Watch: NIL era will keep Syracuse athletes busy running their businesses

Three Wishes Buddy Boeheim
Buddy Boeheim has an endorsement deal with Three Wishes Cereal

Item: Working out and staying in shape this summer are no longer the only priorities for Orange competitors. The historic transition removing amateurism from college sports means business.  Player’s schedules now include a large dose of phone calls and meetings with their parents and various representatives touting deals to monetize their college athletic careers.

When the clock struck midnight on July 1, there was no family better prepared to begin the transition of allowing college players to make money off their name, image, and likeness than the Boeheim’s, father Jim and sons Buddy and Jimmy.

Coinciding with his year-by-year rise to becoming a household name in college basketball not because of having the second winningest all-time coach in Div. I living in the same house, but because of his scoring exploits in the ACC and NCAA Tournaments this past March, Buddy Boeheim, in particular, was ready to pounce.

Just one day into the new age of player’s capitalizing on their fame, Buddy Boeheim announced the first of-its-kind, new line of “Buddy Buckets” merchandise on The Player’s Trunk website, and already his limited-edition autographed items have sold out. But don’t worry, you can still order t-shorts and hoodies, all officially licensed and adorned with the trademarked orange Syracuse block-S logo, or Buddy’s custom line of flip flops and socks from ISlide.

Less than three weeks later, bi-coastal public relations firm Jennifer Bett Communications was touting Buddy Boeheim’s NCAA-first ad campaign on TV and in-store for Three Wishes Cereal, a high-protein, low-sugar, grain-free product developed in late 2019 by Ian and Margaret Wishingrad of Scarsdale, N.Y. (Ian is a Newhouse School graduate).

The TV spot, filmed at the Boeheim’s suburban Syracuse home, has already aired and streamed in central New York with a light-hearted theme, and as with Buddy’s Player Trunk offerings, there’s a limited-edition box of cereal currently in production which, by-the-way, comes in five flavors or unsweetened.

Jimmy Boeheim has jumped into the NIL pool in a more low-key fashion, offering personalized video greetings on the Cameo app, while Buddy’s backcourt mate Joe Girard III has taken full NIL advantage of his “JG3” persona, a phrase he and his family trademarked while he was staring at Glens Falls High School setting the New York State all-time scholastic scoring record.

Girard also has merchandise on The Player’s Trunk, a deal to play video games with fans at Yoke Gaming, an upcoming agreement with Syracuse grad Brandon Steiner’s Collectable Xchange, and his eyeing hosting his own shooting camp.

On the Syracuse football side, the NIL movement has proceeded a little slower than hoops. Dino Babers is ecstatic that his players will be able to make money off all of their hard work and athletic skills on the field, but he’s also cautious and playing the role of a parent when it comes to providing advice to his football “family.”

» Related: Syracuse basketball has gone from orange to blue before

“One of the first things I said in a team meeting, I’m going to teach you guys about contracts,” Babers said last month at the ACC Kickoff event in Charlotte. “What happens when you sign your name to something? It’s legally binding.”

“Just making sure when they’re going out there and they’re exercising their right to some of these opportunities, that they’re not getting tied up in a situation where it could cost them later.”

All Syracuse athletes are eligible to take part in the school’s newly established NIL program called “ACCELERATE,” designed to provide the proper foundation for traversing through the new money-making landscape.

Included in the program is access to a software program/mobile app that delivers customized SU sports content (INFLCR) to players, coaches, staff, and media, along with comprehensive training seminars in September from both university professors and corporate executives helping to answer the real-world questions to a new group of entrepreneurs – Syracuse athletes.

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About Brad Bierman 762 Articles
Now in his sixth decade of covering SU sports, Brad was sports director of WSYR radio for eight years into the early 1990s, then wrote the Orange Watch column for The Big Orange/The Juice print publication for 18 years. A Syracuse University graduate, Brad currently runs his own media consulting business in the Philadelphia suburbs. Follow him on Twitter @BradBierman.