Grambling State University to unveil NIL deal for scholarship student-athletes  

Urban Edge Networks and Athlyt have committed to providing income for all Grambling State scholarship athletes in conjunction with the NIL deal, according to ESPN.

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Grambling State University has created a new name, image, and likeness (NIL) deal that will allow scholarship student-athletes at the school to receive an annual income.

A spokesperson for the Louisiana-based HBCU confirmed via email on Wednesday that it has signed a NIL deal, but declined to comment further.

Martez Carter #4 of the Grambling State Tigers runs the ball against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on Sept. 5, 2015 in Berkeley, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

ESPN reporter Pete Thamel broke the news on Monday about the developing NIL program at Grambling State, which he said might be the first of its kind.

Urban Edge Networks and Athlyt have committed to providing income for all the school’s scholarship athletes in conjunction with the program, according to Thamel. Both companies did not immediately respond on Wednesday to a request for comment from theGrio.

“The income amount is unclear right now,” Thamel said in a series of tweets on Monday. “This should help new Grambling football coach Hue Jackson as he starts to build the Grambling program.”

The U.S. Supreme Court cleared the way last summer for student-athletes to be compensated for their name, image, and likenesses.

The court’s unanimous ruling against the NCAA reaffirmed a lower court’s decision that the collegiate athletics regulatory body’s restrictions on “education-related benefits” for college athletes violated antitrust law, theGrio reported previously.

The NCAA has spent decades resisting the creation of a policy that would allow student-athletes, who help generate billions of dollars for universities across the country, to be paid for their services.

Shedeur Sanders of the Jackson State Tigers warms up prior to facing the South Carolina State Bulldogs in the Cricket Celebration Bowl at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in December in Atlanta. (Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Critics, including The Undefeated opinion writer Brandi Collins-Dexter, have argued that the NCAA’s old policy essentially turned Black student-athletes in big-money sports such as football and basketball into slave laborers.

The NCAA responded days later to the Supreme Court’s ruling by adopting an interim policy that suspended its amateurism rules for college athletes.

The policy change came one day before eight states were scheduled to enact their own NIL legislation. 

Since then, college athletes, including recent Xavier University transfer Hercy Miller and Jackson State University quarterback Shedeur Sanders, have signed lucrative NIL deals.

Miller, who is the son of hip-hop mogul Master P, signed a $2 million NIL deal last summer.

Sanders, son of NFL Hall-of-Famer and Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders, became the first HBCU athlete to sign a NIL deal with Gatorade earlier this month.

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