NEW BRIGHTON, Minn. — As of July 1, college athletes have been allowed to make money off of their name, image, and likeness. The NCAA adopted the policy on an interim basis.
"The current environment — both legal and legislative — prevents us from providing a more permanent solution and the level of detail student-athletes deserve," NCAA President Mark Emmert said in late June.
But University of Minnesota men's basketball guard Sean Sutherlin isn't waiting to take advantage of the historic opportunity. He co-founded a business called 4 the City Sports to help athletes like himself manage their new endorsement deals.
"It's something that has always been missing from college sports," Sutherlin said. "I feel like the NCAA has done a good job of benefiting off of us so it's something that is good for us as the athletes to kind of like stand up and make some money for ourselves while playing college sports."
4 the City Sports is an expansion of clothing retailer 4 the City owned by Sutherlin's business partner, Justin Davis.
"Everybody was waiting around the nation - they were waiting for college kids to be able to profit off of some of their skill," Davis said. "For example, Pretzels is working with one of our athletes, Phoenix. They sent him a package, a bunch of pretzels, for example, and he just posted them on his social media."
The policy change is also allowing Sutherlin to host a youth basketball camp under his name.
"We're definitely benefiting off of my name because it's the Sean Sutherlin Basketball Camp," Sutherlin said.
Open to 4-11th graders, the camp was held Thursday at Irondale High School, where both Sutherlin and Davis grew up playing basketball. Families paid a $25 fee per student to attend.
"[Sutherlin] has the opportunity to profit from the camp and also this is his school where he put his hard work and sweat into," Davis said. "He was a star here playing basketball so I know all the kids are going to learn something from him."
Sutherlin said technical skills as well as life lessons would be taught.
"Basic skills like ball handling, shooting, dribbling, stuff like that, and then we'll get into like more of like mental athletes of the game and how they can use stuff on the basketball court into real life," he said. "It wasn't really about the money it was more about giving back to the community. … I just have a passion for basketball and I'm trying to give back to the kids."
4 the City Sports also partnered with Meleyen's Sports Barbershop to put on the camp. Every year at back-to-school time, they provide kids with free haircuts.