As the NCAA looks for ways to implement rules on student-athletes receiving money for their Name, Image and Likeness, Indiana Hoosiers guard Anthony Leal is showing some of the benefits from the NIL era.
While a majority of the spotlight for NIL deals falls on the biggest college football and basketball stars signing deals worth up to millions of dollars, it’s also having a positive impact on student-athletes across the country.
- Anthony Leal stats (career): 65 points, 45 rebounds, 39 assists, 15 steals in 41 games
Leal, a 6-foot-5 guard, has only played in four games for Indiana this season, averaging just three minutes per game. However, the Indiana NIL store, part of the NIL Store launched by Mark Cuban, allowed Leal to provide his sister with a Christmas present she’ll never forget.
Spending time with his family on Christmas in Bloomington, Leal’s parents captured the moment when he provided his sister Lauren with the card. As she read the kind words written by her brother, she then saw the final part that he paid off the remaining balance on her student loan debt.
Leal isn’t the only student-athlete using his NIL money to help others. Michigan running back Blake Corum used his NIL earnings to donate 300 turkeys to families in need on Thanksgiving. Meanwhile, Michigan State Spartans basketball player Mady Sissoko used his NIL money to help impoverished people in his native Mali.
Earlier this year, Oklahoma quarterback Nick Evers partnered with the Make-A-Wish foundation, not taking a single dollar and using 100% of the proceeds raised to help Make-A-Wish provide happiness for more kids.
In his final season at Iowa, center Tyler Linderbaum donated $30,000 in NIL earnings to help the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Earlier this year, former LSU tight end Jack Bech donated his NIL compensation to support “Dreams Come True of Louisiana”m a local non-profit that helps fulfill dreams for children with life-threatening illnesses.
For all the negativity that surrounds NIL’s influence on recruiting and the transfer portal, college athletes across the country are often showing how often they are using that money to help those in need.