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An ‘Update’ on Gable Steveson’s Next Move in the NIL Era of NCAA Athletics

Pictured: Sophomore Gable Steveson celebrates after a winning a match during the meet against Nebraska at the Maturi Pavilion on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. Photo taken by Liam Armstrong. Image first appeared in The Minnesota Daily. 

As the saying goes, no news is good news.

Well, whether no new news regarding if Gable Steveson will be returning to the Minnesota Golden Gopher lineup in 2022 is considered a “positive” sign or a “negative” sign, we will have to wait a little longer and see. 

Late Thursday evening, on “NIL Day,” Steveson, the reigning Hodge Trophy recipient and heavyweight NCAA champion, revealed via Twitter that he would not be deciding his college wrestling future until after the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games conclude in early August. 

“I will announce if I will return to College Wrestling or go pro after the Olympic Games!” Steveson said in a tweet with a praying hands emoji that followed the statement. 

As The Open Mat’s Kimmy Sokol reported in early June, Steveson’s fame, charisma, and unparalleled athleticism have opened up many professional pathways once his time in a Maroon and Gold singlet ends. A professional wrestling career, a professional football career, and many other options are among his list of possible opportunities.

While it is still unknown whether Gable competes collegiately again after his Tokyo 2021 quest, Gable has already made use of his ability to profit from his name, image, and likeness as a collegian. Thursday, July 1, Steveson was one of at least four marquee wrestlers to capitalize on NIL rights thus far. Steveson, along with Spencer Lee (Iowa), Roman Bravo-Young (Penn State), and AJ Ferrari (Oklahoma State), have all signed a variety of deals less than three days into this new era of NCAA athletics. 

Steveson has an endorsement deal with Gopuff, a consumer goods and food delivery service operating in over 650 US cities through approximately 250 fulfillment centers as of March 2021. The move, which came on July 1, was thanks to Steveson’s 245,000 Instagram and 30,000 Twitter followers. Such a substantial social media following and presence are of obvious appeal to any company or brand looking to capitalize on the popularity of the Big Ten’s most-followed athlete.

Within five to six weeks, fans are sure to lean on Gable’s next move. But one thing we know now with certainty is that fun times are ahead for not only wrestlers, but all college student-athletes as the new NIL era of NCAA athletics unfolds. 

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