HONOLULU (KHON2) — Showered with Aloha, the University of Hawaii men’s volleyball team celebrated their back-to-back national championships surrounded by thousands of fans in downtown Honolulu Tuesday.
“The amount of love the island for this sport and for our team is just insurmountable nothing can compare,” middle blocker Guilherme Voss said.
All that enthusiasm could soon translate into big bucks for student-athletes now that the NCAA allows college athletes to make money off of their name, image, and likeness or NIL.
Voss is one of the dozens of athletes that have been able to profit off of sponsorships, adding partnership ads with Off the Hook Poke Market and Uniqlo Hawaii to his social media accounts. With the national titles in tow, he could be adding more.
“The men’s volleyball team has become the most profitable NIL team on the university-wide campus,” RKT Media President & CEO Ryan Kalei Tsuji said. “I think because of their visibility, the success that they have, obviously as back-to-back national championships, make them very marketable and brands want to work with that. I think it’s evident when you saw people waiting for hours to get their autographs and photos with them today.”
On top of Voss, RKT represents and manages 21 other UH Manoa athletes. He says student athletes like Voss have even created LLCs to set themselves up for business.
“I think the highest-paid athletes that we’ve worked with, have probably made about $10,000 in a year,” Tsuji said. “So pretty good for the first year but it all can range from $200 to $1,000s. It really just depends on how willing the athletes themselves are also wanting to get out there.”
That kind of money can be a lot for a college student, especially a men’s volleyball player. Under the NCAA men’s volleyball teams split 4.5 full scholarships across their roster, which is 23 players at UH.
Tsuji says more can be done by the athletes as well as the school.
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“NIL is so new,” said Tsuji. “And so I think there’s a learning curve of the university for what you’re learning, like what is allowed, what’s not allowed. Then the athletes themselves are learning how to leverage their name, image, and likeness to really sell themselves.”