Tuesday, January 31, 2023

In the “age of internet sensationalism and college athletics’ new world of NIL profits,” there is “no one quite like” LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne, according to Scott Rabalais of the New Orleans TIMES-PICAYUNE. On3.com ranked NIL valuations of the top 100 college and high school athletes, and Dunne is “No. 6 in the overall rankings, with a valuation of” $2.7M. She is “No. 1 among female athletes.” Dunne said that her “foray into commercials and endorsements for brands like Vuori, American Eagle and Forever 21 has helped her earn ‘seven figures.’” LSU gymnastics coach Jay Clark “figures On3’s estimate was low, given Dunne’s instant recognizability and social media cachet.” Dunne could “give up gymnastics and college and be a full-time influencer right now.” There is “no professional league in gymnastics that Dunne is aiming for,” and being on the U.S. Olympic team is “a dream that was deferred long ago.” At LSU, she is “seeing to it that the rest of the Tigers benefit from her biggest endorsements.” At “least twice during her deal with Vuori,” she has “made sure her teammates also got apparel from the clothing manufacturer” (NOLA.com, 1/20).

CARRIED AWAY: NBC’s Savannah Guthrie said in terms of influential athletes, “few at the college level can rival” Dunne. NBC’s Stephanie Gosk said Dunne is a “social media superstar” with “nearly 10 million followers.” Dunne: “I’m very grateful to be making seven figures. It is very cool that someone in college has the opportunity to do that now.” Dunne talked about the raucous fans at a recent meet at the Univ. of Utah, saying “that was insane.” After that meet, LSU enacted new security measures. Gosk said to coach Clark, “There’s an intensity because of social media that just changes everything.” Clark: “It creates kind of a false sense of accessibility and familiarity that followers feel.” Some fan behavior around LSU meets is “a bit concerning.” But Gosk said, “For those who may suggest the nature of her content is to blame, she has this to say.” Dunne: “As a woman, you’re not responsible for how a man looks at you and objectifies you.” Gosk: “In a sport that offers few professional prospects, coach Clark and LSU support Dunne’s business opportunities while she has her eye on a future after gymnastics” (“Today,” NBC, 1/20).

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