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Illinois athletes partner with NFT company NextName

Photo credit: Getty Images

NFT company NextName has announced NIL sponsorships with 21 student-athletes from the University of Illinois football and volleyball teams that will allow the athletes to have their own collectable tokens and profit from them.

Purchasing these NFTs will allow owners access to autograph sessions, exclusive fan experiences and dinners with the handful of athletes who have signed on. NextName expects the first batch of player-specific tokens to go on-sale in August, there are team specific NFTs already available on NextName’s website.

“Our goal was to create a transparent method for fans of college athletes to support their favorite players, teams, and hometown heroes,” said University of Illinois alumni and NextName co-founder Steve Thayer.

Here is the provided list of athletes to sign on:

Football: Tarique Barnes, Chase Brown, Jartavius Matin, Jer’Zhan Newton, Julian Pearl, Artur Sitkowski, Jordyn Slaughter, Kendall Smith and Devon Witherspoon

Volleyball: Caroline Barnes, Sarah Bingham, Diana Brown, Kennedy Collins, Sophie Gregus, Rylee Hinton, Brooke Mosher, Jessica Nunge, Becca Sakoda, Kyla Swanson, Raina Terry and Maddie Whittington.

The NextName website has a small collection of NFTs available, all from partnerships with the University of Illinois men’s basketball, football and women’s volleyball teams.

NextName was founded by Steve and his son, Ryan, after the former graduated from the College of Illinois in 2021. Their company was trademarked in February of 2022, four months after the name, image and likeness policy was put in place.