ST PAUL, Minn. — St. Paul's Suni Lee is a proven commodity, having already proven she can strike gold.
Crocs is hoping it can do the same by inking Lee, the 2020 Olympic medalist and current Auburn University student-athlete, to a Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deal that will help promote their ubiquitous footwear.
Financial terms of the deal were not released. Lee announced late last year that the 2022-23 college gymnastics season would be her last, before she embarks on training for the 2024 Summer Games in Paris.
A press release says during her Olympic run, Lee sported crocs off the gymnastics mat and has always been a big supporter of the brand. She and five other top college athletes will act as Crocs ambassadors and embody "an individualistic sense of self" both inside and outside her sport.
“I've always been a big fan of the brand and have worn the shoes for so many years," Lee said in a statement released by Crocs. "Comfort is everything to me, especially after a long day on the mat, so I always reach for my Crocs on training days. I love working with brands I genuinely use and love.”
The other 5 NIL athletes on Croc's list are:
- Jared McCain, Basketball; Committed to Duke University
- Armando Bacot, Basketball; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Julian Strawther, Basketball; Gonzaga University
- Deja Kelly, Basketball; University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- Claire Curzan, Swimming; Stanford University
Lee is among an elite group of college athletes that have found significant success tapping into the relatively-new NIL field adopted by the NCAA in June of 2021. An article published by Sports Illustrated-College says that while most athletes with NIL deals don't make close to what would amount to a regular salary, Lee's deals with CLIF bar, Amazon, Gatorade, Invisalign and Target (among others) are worth a reported $1.5 million.
SI named Lee among the top-six earning female college NIL athletes, along with fellow Minnesota native and UConn hoopster Paige Bueckers.
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