HBCU Athlete, Capitalizing Off Of NCAA Rule Reversal, Signs Historic Deal With Bojangles
Ky'Wuan Dukes said the opportunity is nothing short of a blessing.
August 13, 2021 at 4:39 pm
After the NCAA determined student-athletes could be paid for their likeness and endorsements, many players took full advantage of the historic ruling.
Of the players who capitalized on the opportunity was Johnson C. Smith University wide receiver Ky'Wuan Dukes, according to the Independent Tribune. Shortly after the decision from the association, Dukes signed an endorsement deal with Bojangles, a fast-food chain popular amongst North Carolinians and headquartered in Charlotte.
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) August 5, 2021
Back in June, the NCAA ruled that student-athletes can profit off of the use of their name, image and likeness. The ruling, which took effect on July 1, allows collegiate players to accept endorsements from brands and capitalize on their social media presence, CNBC reported.
The endorsement deal marked the redshirt freshman as the first athlete from an HBCU to ink a partnership with Bojangles.
“It was definitely a great idea, (the) rule change,” Dukes said. “I feel like that rule opens up a lot of opportunity for student-athletes financially and with exposure of helping build their brand, name, or whatever they’re trying to pursue. I appreciate the NCAA for letting that take place.”
Bojangles said Dukes was a "natural fit" for the company, citing his North Carolina roots. Dukes, however, said the opportunity was nothing short of a blessing.
He added that his endorsement deal is also an opportunity for other HBCU athletes to receive the exposure they deserve "especially in order to get to the next level."
“It means a lot to be honest,” he said. “It really makes me want to go harder as an athlete and as a person."
The partnership came about while Dukes was scrolling on Instagram and noticed a public relations company that represents athletes reached out to him. VayneSports, based in New York, saw the potential in Dukes.
During his high school career, Dukes had an impressive career with 58 receptions for 830 yards and seven touchdowns all within his senior year. His team finished the regular season with an 11-0 record, scoring the North Piedmont Conference championship.
Dukes said these opportunities will assist students whose families are struggling financially and are unable to provide for the athletes.
“It’s definitely a big help,” Dukes said, HBCU Buzz reported. “Students that have parents that aren’t fortunate and don’t have things..now they can do it for themselves. This is definitely a good thing to happen for us.”
Dukes isn't the only HBCU collegiate athlete to ink up a partnership. Hercy Miller, Master P's son, signed a multi-million dollar deal with a tech company just one day after the rule went into effect, as Blavity previously reported. Miller currently attends Tennessee State University.
Students from Jackson State University, Norfolk State University and Alabama A&M have also signed endorsement deals.