Zia Cooke – One of the Highest Paid Players in NCAA

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For the first time in the history of March Madness, players can sign endorsement deals. Which allows players to capitalize off the use of their names, images and popularity.

Changes within the National Collegiate Athletic Association are bringing lucrative benefits to players. As of July 2021, players can sign endorsement deals to take advantage of the name, image, and likeness.

Zia Cooke, a junior guard and top scorer for the University of South Carolina’s women’s basketball team, is among the top three highest earners in the NCAA. Cooke, along with teammates, took home the tournament’s victory in March.

She is one of the highest paid college basketball players in the Final Four. Additionally, her team’s accomplishments, along with her impeccable reputation as an athlete helped expand Cookes brand.

Cooke has over 225,000 Instagram followers. Based on her following, she earns roughly $7,923 on social media.

“It just shows that we can do a lot of things that a lot of people say we can’t do.” Cooke shares. “To see all the girls on there for the NIL, and I think it was just one boy, it shows that we can do literally everything they can do. It’s a business and it’s super effective for women and men.”

Cooke signed a sponsorship deal with H&R Block, “A Fair Shot” campaign, in March 2022. This initiative’s willingness to invest in female college athletes will provide her with an opportunity to show off her authentic self.

The shift of the endorsement signing decision comes after a unanimous Supreme Court decision last summer. Furthermore, the decision ended opposition regarding student-athletes getting paid. Now, student-athletes control their athletic careers, as they explore sponsorships.



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