Nike inks Stanford's Rachel Heck as first NIL golfer
US sportswear brand Nike has signed Stanford University’s Rachel Heck as its first name, image, and likeness (NIL) golf athlete.
Heck is presently ranked third in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, with significant victories including the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) division one Women's Golf Championship in 2021.
Last year, the Tennessee native won several honors, including Pac-12 Golfer of the Year and Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) Player of the Year. She also won the Honda Sports Award, which is given to the best collegiate female athlete in NCAA-sanctioned sports, as well as the Annika Award, which is presented to the best collegiate golfer.
Nike recruited soccer star Reilyn Turner from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) as the company's first student-athlete sponsorship in December.
Although the sportswear behemoth continues to favor individual sponsorship deals, Adidas has taken a different strategy after the NCAA changed its rules to allow student-athletes to profit from selling their NIL rights. Adidas launched the NIL network in March, which allows US college athletes to become compensated Adidas endorsers.
More than 50,000 student-athletes will be eligible for Adidas' program, which will be implemented over the following year.