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LSU gymnast expected to earn more money than any other college athlete

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BATON ROUGE - Starting Thursday, NCAA athletes can make money off of their name, image, and likeness, including endorsements.

The options for athletes to cash in on their large followings are seemingly endless, so long as they follow the rules.

The NCAA is also allowing athletes to enter agreements with agents, as long as the university is aware of the deals being negotiated. Schools are responsible for "determining whether those activities are consistent with state law," as the policies differ from state to state.

Louisiana makes the 23rd state to allow college athletes to profit from their name and image. Governor John Bel Edwards is expected to sign a bill making this all official on Thursday, July 1.

LSU has worked on their policy for the last year to protect the school and ensure that they're not at a competitive disadvantage in the recruiting game when compared to what other schools in other states are offering student-athletes.

This bill will be a game-changer at all universities across the state, but LSU is said to potentially have the top-earning athlete in the country.

LSU Gymnast Olivia Dunne has accumulated a large following on social media with 5 million followers across Instagram and Tik Tok combined.

Now that student-athletes can profit off of their audience, Sports Illustrated's Ross Dellenger says it's likely Dunne will bring in more cash than any other college athlete.

Social media sponsorships or posts paired with advertisements can pay those endorsing the service or product up to millions of dollars. An ABC News business report states corporate America spent well over $4 billion on user-generated advertising in 2014 alone, and projected that number to double by 2024.

Benjamin Oduro, a talent booker with International Talent Agency LLC, says brands are interested in working with anyone who has a highly followed social media presence because the fan base markets to a specific demographic the company is trying to reach.

"I've seen contracts around $150,000 for two tweets a week for a year, but I've also seen clients receive around $1,500 per tweet," Oduro said.

LSU's policy gives student-athletes plenty of room to negotiate big brand deals, but there are a few things these players can't promote, like alcohol, tobacco, or gambling.

Some colleges in other states have allowed for its student-athletes to reap these benefits, but exclude students from using the university's logo or facilities in their business efforts.

LSU says they will allow for athletes to use the university's logo or facilities, as long as they get permission first.

Stephanie Rempe with LSU Athletics tells WBRZ there are a few key points in the policy that students need to be careful about.

"One is that if you contract with an agent or a lawyer or a marketing representative, you need to tell us. When you do a NIL bill, you need to tell us. Those are part of the state bill," Rempe said.

Rempe says as long as students are aware of the rules, things should run smoothly, but the university is working to educate these athletes on all of the small details they'll have to watch out for.

"That's honestly, out of all of this, the heaviest lift is making sure our student-athletes are educated and well versed in this. No question. And we've got 500 plus student-athletes that we need to make sure understand how to disclose, how to ask permission, how to interact with people in the community, the sponsors, all of that kind of stuff," Rempe said.

Financial literacy is another big concern for Rempe.

"They have to pay taxes on all the money they receive. There's lots of things in that realm that we need to make sure we're doing," Rempe said.


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