TikTok Star ’22
On June 21, 2021, the United States Supreme Court upheld the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit’s decision that the NCAA’s restrictions on “education-related benefits” for college athletes violated antitrust laws. As a result, college athletes who play at any division in the NCAA can now profit off of their names, images, and/or likeness. Since July 1, when the NCAA formally approved this policy, many college athletes, including Providence College student-athletes, have jumped at the opportunity to profit, signing deals with different brands and beginning to market themselves.
For the 2021-2022 season, the Providence College Men’s Basketball Team ranked No. 1 on the luck scale for the Ken Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings. Since then, they have embraced the “luck” narrative, and this has even translated into their NIL deals. The entire team has partnered with General Mills’ Lucky Charms Cereal. All 15 members of the team signed a deal that requires them to eat Lucky Charms before every single game they play and star in a commercial for Lucky Charms. Ed Cooley will also star in the commercial as Lucky the Leprechaun, a casting inspired by his comment in an interview before the team’s first Round NCAA Tournament game against South Dakota State University in which he said, “Why not? Hell, I may be the leprechaun tomorrow.”
Individual team members have also signed with companies whose brands are centered around luck, such as Irish Spring Body Wash. Nate Watson signed with the soap company and has taken to his TikTok account to promote the product via a shower thirst trap. Watson has almost a million followers on TikTok as well as Instagram, so thanks to him, Irish Spring sales have skyrocketed.
Furthermore, everyone—well, at least everyone who’s taken Civ—knows that the number seven is seen as a lucky number in the Western world. The men’s basketball team does not currently have a player wearing No. 7, but AJ Reeves will be doing so next season when he returns to Friartown for a fifth year. With the switch to No. 7 from his current jersey No. 11, Reeves signed a partnership with the convenience store 7/11. More specifically, he will be the main figurehead for Switch Sparkling Juice’s Green Watermelon-Strawberry flavor, which is sold at 7/11.
Finally, although Nike has been the official outfitter of the PC Friars for decades, Bob Driscoll wanted to make a last-minute impact on Friartown. The Providence College athletics department has signed a new long-term partnership with Lucky Brand: the clothing retailer will now be the official sponsor of all footwear and apparel for PC. The Friars are the first NCAA school to partner with Lucky Brand in this capacity. Driscoll felt that the graphic tee and jean lines were a must-have on campus.
It is safe to say that PC’s Men’s Basketball Team is taking full advantage of the NCAA’s NIL policy and embracing the luck narrative they have been pushing all season.