UNF’s Rhetta Moore among female athletes experiencing recognition through NIL

UNF women's basketball player Rhetta Moore. (Justin Barney, News4JAX)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Rhetta Moore needed to do a doubletake.

The University of North Florida women’s basketball star knew about name, image and likeness legislation. But when a local company, The Bailey Group, approached Moore about an opportunity to profit off her NIL, she was flattered and a bit overwhelmed.

“At first I was like, ‘Are you sure you want to get me to be your athlete?’ But I think it was just very cool that they chose a female athlete,” she said. “That meant a lot. And it was just all excitement.”

When NIL became law last July, it opened a path for athletes in college to earn money through endorsements or sponsorship opportunities. While the major headliners can rake in thousands of dollars from NIL deals, the majority of college athletes don’t.

But for athletes like Moore, a sharpshooting guard who ranks second on the Ospreys in scoring at 14.2 ppg, it is the recognition that they are valuable, too. And companies will be proactive in getting a local athlete to be a face for their product.

“I think it’s amazing. From the top-tier high school athletes that kind of get the bigger deals to, you know, local companies reaching out to someone like me, it’s just great that student-athletes can benefit from something that everyone before could benefit from,” she said. “It’s kind of weird like anyone could get a deal with the company, but athletes couldn’t.”

Moore’s deal with The Bailey Group, a company that provides health insurance, financial services and corporate benefits with clients, ends when her eligibility does — following this college basketball season. In one part of her deal, Moore does radio appearances on 1010XL, as well as gets the opportunity to talk UNF sports.

It has been a particular boost for female athletes in college. While male sports and athletes get greater attention, NIL affords female athletes visibility in those roles and the chance for some type of compensation.

According to Opendorse, a company that “provides technology to the athlete endorsement industry,” women’s basketball players have garnered 26.2% of all NIL compensation from July 1 to Dec. 31, 2021. It trails only football (45.7%) of all NIL compensation. Pay is modest, with Opendorse reporting the average pay for Division I athletes was $1,036 in that timeframe.

INFLCR, a company that provides compliance software for elite athletics, told the Associated Press that if football is taken out of the NIL picture, “transactions or activities disclosed by female student-athletes make up more than 50% of the total for all other sports.”

Edward Waters University women’s basketball player La’Quanza Glover, a Ribault High alum, is another local star who landed an NIL deal with Global Freight & Commerce late last year, the first for a student-athlete from a Historically Black College and University in the state, as well as the first for any athlete in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Moore’s teammate Jazz Bond, UNF’s leading scorer, is one of the most visible athletes when it comes to maximizing exposure for her brand. Bond has nearly 261,000 followers on TikTok.

“She’s very big on TikTok. She’s been getting a lot of deals with other clothing companies, different product companies that she gets to promote and they also send her stuff,” Moore said. “It’s just exciting and fun and it gives people the opportunity to maybe make money, get things that they wouldn’t normally get before the NIL deal where other people their age could but with the legislation in the past athletes couldn’t.”

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.