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U. of Cincinnati QB With NIL Deal Snags NFT Deal

Tabatha Wethal

Desmond Ridder, the University of Cincinnati's most well-known current Bearcat athlete, has penned another deal in the new collegiate NIL era.

The senior quarterback signed a deal with digital collectible company Candy Digital, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer report.

Ridder signed an exclusive non-fungible token -- or NFT -- deal with Candy Digital to be featured in NFT collectibles launching in September. Ridder had announced earlier this month that he had signed an NIL deal with sports agency Vayner Sports.

Many college student-athletes have seized financial opportunities since the NCAA Board of Directors suspended the NCAA's rules prohibiting student-athletes from profiting off of their name, image and likeness.

UC men's basketball guard Jeremiah Davenport and UC sprinter Caisja Chandler have announced their own NIL deals in recent weeks.

“College student-athletes are now able to market themselves in ways never imagined before, and together with a booming NFT marketplace, the interest in their first generation collectibles has never been higher," Vayner Sports co-founder Gary Vaynerchuk said.

NFTs are digital assets that secure ownership of a virtual item like a picture, tweet or video, typically paid for in cryptocurrency.

Candy Digital will launch Sweet Futures ahead of the college football season. In addition to Ridder, other top college football players like Clemson quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei, North Carolina quarterback Sam Howell and Georgia quarterback JT Daniels will headline the launch, with Candy Digital set to announce more players in the coming weeks.

Candy Digital declined Friday to make the financial details of the deal public to The Enquirer. The University of Cincinnati declined an interview with Ridder to The Enquirer, citing the need to work on its "internal NIL policy, particularly with full athlete education."

Ridder is the 2020 American Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Year. He heads into his senior season as the No. 2 passer in school history, throwing for 6,905 career yards, 57 touchdowns and 20 interceptions, according to the newspaper.

The 6-foot-4, 215-pound right-hander passed for 2,296 yards and 19 touchdowns against six interceptions in 2020, while rushing for 592 yards and 12 more scores, the most rushing touchdowns by an FBS quarterback last season. Ridder's 22 career rushing touchdowns are the most ever by a UC quarterback. He will open the 2021 season as the winningest quarterback in college football.

The Bearcats are scheduled to kick off the season Sept. 4 at Nippert Stadium against Miami University.

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