CHARLOTTE, N.C. — For years college athletes have petitioned to make money using their name, image and likeness. In June, the NCAA officially granted this wish, announcing college athletes could accept endorsements.

So far, athletes around the country have been sponsored by companies like PetSmart, Boost Mobile and G.O.A.T. Fuel energy drink. 

What You Need To Know

  • NCAA announced student athletes can now use their name image and likeness for profit

  • Ky’Wuan Dukes is the first HBCU student to receive an endorsement deal 

  • He says the NCAA ruling allowed student athletes to take care of themselves, he hopes to do that while taking care of the community

Ky’Wuan Dukes is the first historically Black colleges and universities student with an endorsement under the NCAA ruling. He says he was happy to hear the announcement since workouts and school take up most of student athletes’ time. 

“It’s definitely hard to work, especially when you have school work. That’s why I feel like the NIL opened up a lot of things money wise for anybody that needs it,” Dukes said.  

He says it allows athletes to provide for themselves where they couldn’t before. 

“You need things for your dorm, you need food, you need clothes, you need just normal things that I feel like people need and they don't realize,” Dukes said. 

For him, representing a company as a college athlete is about more than notoriety. It’s about inspiring his family.

“I’m the first to go to college, an HBCU at that. It feels great because I have younger brothers and sisters, and I want them to do the same thing,” he said. 

As a proud native of Statesville, he says he also wants to show his community it’s possible. 

“The southside of Statesville is the worst side of town and there’s a lot of crime and negative that goes on around there so I definitely want to be that positive voice and that positive influence,” he said.  

That’s why when a sponsor contacted him about participating. He was happy to know he could do just that all while representing a restaurant he frequents. 

“It gives me an opportunity to be in the public and exposure to help myself and expose myself. It's a blessing to be sponsored by this company,” he said.

As a part of his endorsement, Dukes promotes the Bojangles Bo’ Chicken Sandwich. Earlier this week, he announced he also signed with G.O.A.T. Fuel energy drink.

He says he plans to give back to the community with the money he’s granted, practicing with youth in his Statesville neighborhood, continuing with his inspirational clothing line and providing school supplies. 

Dukes will be giving away his brand’s T-shirt next week. Head to his Instagram account for more information