NORFOLK (WAVY) – Name, image, likeness is one of the hottest topics in college sports. Last month, the NCAA dropped its long time regulations that prohibited amateur athletes getting paid. For athletes that had major followings on social media, it was the perfect opportunity to begin to partner with companies interested in promoting products and services.
Rayquan Smith is one of those athletes with a large following. He has 78,000 combined followers on Tik Tok and Instagram. His following had been growing before he became a Spartan.
“I like to be active with my followers, I like to be funny,” Smith said. “When it (NIL) came out, I just said ‘well I’ve been doing this, might as well get paid for doing it now'”.
Smith has six partnerships with various companies. He receives free products and helps promote those products on his respective platforms. While Smith is benefitting, he hopes he can help other HBCU athletes like him.
“My main goal is to help every HBCU athlete to get on some type of deal or sponsorship because I feel like we’re not as big as the power five schools so I’m just trying to make an example you can get deals no matter what school you’re at.”
Spartans head coach Dawson Odums said he’s happy to see his players embracing the new rules.
“He (Rayquan) has the right intentions. He’s not a guy trying to do anything outside of the lines,” Odums said. “He has a great heart and a big personality. He’s always smiling, always happy, you see him doing tik toks with his teammates. That’s something I embrace. I like a guy that’s outgoing and has a sense of humor.”