Hercy Miller, a 19-year-old Tennessee State University basketball player who’s also the son of famous music artist Master P, is expected to earn $2 million from tech company Web Apps America through an endorsement deal made possible by the NCAA’s interim rule change allowing student-athletes to earn money from use of their name, image and likeness.
Speaking to Nashville Public Radio station WPLN, Philip Hutcheson, athletic director at Lipscomb University in Nashville, said that while some high-profile athletes in major programs may stand to gain more than others, companies may also target students from smaller institutions who have large social media followings.
“You may have a highly touted recruit who goes to a school, and maybe a larger place, in thinking that’s going to help them. Then, maybe they don’t get to play as much, or maybe they don’t have the success they hoped for,” Hutcheson said. “Then they decided, ‘Well maybe I’d rather be a bigger fish in a different pond.' ”
In May, Tennessee governor Bill Lee signed a bill allowing student-athletes to be paid. But unlike other states, which enacted NIL legislation July 1, the Tennessee law doesn't go into effect until January 2022.
Master P told The Tennessean of Nashville how his incoming freshman son intends to invest his windfall.
"Hercy told me, 'I'm grateful for this deal, but I'm putting this money up and I'm about to play like I have nothing,' " said Master P, whose real name is Percy Miller. "I loved that."
Hercy plans to cover the cost of gift bags for the kids who will attend a "Books and Ball" camp he and his dad will host July 21 at Tennessee State's Gentry Center.
"He said, 'For our camp I'm making sure all the kids have book bags filled with school supplies,' " Master P said. "That's what I'm talking about. Whoever makes it, they've got to give back."
Master P added that he'd like to see all athletes receive opportunities like the one his son received.
"What I want to tell families who have kids in college is stop going after these big companies like Nike, Apple, Allstate — they already have big-time pro athletes as spokespeople so, they're not looking at college athletes," he said.
"We went after these technology companies because technology companies and other companies that are about to go public are ready to spend the money and invest into the future and want to grow whatever kids they connect their brand to. They're looking at social media impressions and see this as a way to add value to their company."