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Howard University Basketball’s New NIL Deal is an HBCU Breakthrough

The whole Bison men’s basketball team has partnered with College HUNKS Hauling Junk in the first team-wide NIL deal for an HBCU.

The Howard University men’s basketball team has broken new ground in the world of name, image, and likeness. The Bison have signed a team-wide NIL deal with the company College HUNKS Hauling Junk — believed to be the first such deal for an HBCU.

The moving and junk removal company is no stranger to the NIL game, already having inked partnerships with the San Diego State football team, UCF women’s basketball team, and Miami Hurricanes quarterback D’Eriq King.

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College HUNKS will give the team a $20,000 scholarship with individual incentives after that for bringing on new clients or employees. Players will also have a chance to earn more money by attending events and posting on social media.

“College HUNKS is an iconic brand, and Howard University is an iconic institution, so it makes sense to align our mutual passions for building leaders,” Bison guard and team captain Tai Bibbs said in a release. “My teammates and I are looking forward to partnering with College HUNKS to promote their amazing employment opportunities for frontline staff, their moving and hauling services for clients, as well as their franchise opportunities for aspiring business owners.” 

While this may be the first team-wide NIL deal for a historically Black college or university, it is far from the first notable partnership in the community. Deion Sanders’ son, Shedeur, plays football for his dad at Jackson State and has a deal with Beats by Dre. Tennessee State basketball player Hercy Miller signed the most lucrative deal to date — a two-year, $4 million deal with Web Apps America.

All told, it’s another high-profile example of the power of group licensing, a key component of the NIL landscape in that it doesn’t strictly reward superstar names at the country’s biggest schools.

“One of our Core Values is Building Leaders, so we are proud to support college athletes as they set the path for their future endeavors,” College HUNKS co-founder Nick Friedman said in the release. “This partnership holds even more significance since Washington, D.C. is where [co-founder Omar Soliman] and I were born and raised and where College HUNKS originated as a business. Our sponsorship of the Howard University Men’s Basketball players also ushers in a new era for NIL in the Washington, DC metro area and, more importantly, for HBCU athletes nationwide.”

Friedman and Soliman both grew up following Howard, and Friedman even played for the Bison’s national championship intramural basketball team in college.

Notably, College HUNKS has aligned itself with one of the stronger HBCU basketball programs in the country. The Bison were picked to finish just fifth in the MEAC preseason voting, but are off to a surprising start with a win over Bradley and a competitive loss to Villanova. KenPom.com ranks them as the best team in the conference so far this season.

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About The Author
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg
Russell Steinberg is an editor and writer at Boardroom. He came to the brand in 2021 with a decade of experience in sports journalism, primarily covering college basketball at SB Nation as a writer, reporter, and blog manager. In a previous life, he worked as a social media strategist and copywriter, handling accounts ranging from sports retail to luxury hotels and financial technology. Though he has mastered the subtweet, he kindly requests you @ him next time.