Wednesday, July 6

College football QB lands first known political NIL deal, endorses local district attorney candidate

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The spectrum of activity surrounding name, image and likeness deals for college athletes grew wider this week when a college football quarterback announced his endorsement of a political figure as part of an NIL agreement. Tennessee-Martin senior Dresser Winn shared his support for a local district attorney candidate, Colin Johnson, on social media and repped Johnson’s campaign apparel while at a football camp.

“Thank you to life-long supporter, and candidate for District Attorney General for the 27th Judicial District of Tennessee, Colin Johnson, for coming to my camp this weekend!” Winn wrote. “Elections are in August, so make sure you are registered to vote!”

Winn’s NIL-fueled political endorsement is regarded as a first in college sports’ new frontier allowing athletes to profit off their public personas. Winn, who has 1,303 followers on Twitter and 3,025 on Instagram, is entering his sixth season with the Skyhawks, which compete at the FCS level. He has thrown for 2,872 yards, 19 touchdowns and 13 interceptions during his career.

While the segment of fans who prefer that athletes “stick to sports” may not appreciate the wading into paid political endorsements, Winn’s deal more closely resembles a true NIL agreement than some of what is going on in college football. As third-party “collectives” at Power Five schools amass war chests to attract top talent under the guise of NIL, organic opportunities that amount to true endorsements have taken a backseat in the conversation.

Winn’s deal appears to be an extension of a personal relationship that can help give the quarterback a little extra cash to spend as he prepares for his final season at Tennessee-Martin. 





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