The NCAA’s ruling allowing students to profit off their name, image, and likeness (NIL) has opened up a lucrative new world for college athletes. As brands and agencies move to embrace NIL opportunities, several female athletes are well-positioned to take advantage of the new policy.

These are the Top 10 in line for a payday:

1. Paige Bueckers, University of Connecticut


Paige Bueckers has been making headlines since high school, and after a dominant freshman year at UConn, the basketball star is now a household name. With 906,000 followers on Instagram and a strong national profile boosted by a memorable appearance at the ESPYs, Bueckers is one of the most popular college athletes in America today. Singing with Wassermann Media Group, a Los Angeles-based sports marketing and talent company, Bueckers is likely to leverage her platform for lucrative NIL deals, with some estimates predicting the basketball star could make $1 million a year in partnerships and endorsements.

2. Suni Lee, Auburn University


Suni Lee was the breakout star of the Tokyo Olympics after winning individual gold in women’s gymnastics and capturing the world’s attention. Lee’s Olympic success earned her a spot competing on this season of ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, only elevating her growing profile. Now at the Auburn University, Lee is set to benefit the most from NIL deals due to her rising fame (and 1.6 million Instagram followers).

3. Hailey Van Lith, University of Louisville


Haley Van Lith had a strong debut season for Louisville, leading the women’s basketball team to an Elite Eight appearance and the ACC Championship game while earning a spot on the ACC All-Freshman Team. The breakout Louisville star also boasts a sizeable social media following, including 703,000 fans on Instagram, making her a true beneficiary of NIL changes. In August, Lith signed with Octagon, a talent management agency, embracing the potential for forthcoming partnerships and endorsements.

4. Cameron Brink, Stanford University


Cameron Brink is quickly becoming one of the most recognizable athletes in college basketball after helping Stanford take home the NCAA 2021 Women’s Basketball Championship in her freshman year. Off the court, Brink is a savvy social media influencer, with 160,000 followers on Instagram and a series of brand deals. The Stanford star is among a growing group of young athletes to sign with Wasserman, adding to her NIL earnings potential.

5. Sarah Fuller, Vanderbilt University


Last year, Sarah Fuller made NCAA football history, becoming the first woman to play and score in a Power Five football game as a kicker for the Vanderbilt University football team. She’s a uniquely marketable talent who has also signed with Wasserman, leveraging her 146,000 Instagram followers. She currently plays goalkeeper for North Texas as a graduate soccer transfer.

6. Sedona Prince, Oregon University


Sedona Prince is not afraid to speak up. Last year, Oregon’s power-forward and center took the sports world by storm after highlighting the weight room disparities between the women’s and men’s 2021 NCAA basketball tournaments. Now, the basketball star boasts a loyal social media following on both Instagram and TikTok, making Prince one of college’s most marketable athletes.

7. Haley Jones, Stanford University


Haley Jones is one of the most talented college basketball players on the court today, having led Stanford to a 2021 NCAA Championship while being named the MOP of the Final Four. Her impressive run to a national title catapulted Jones to prominence, with the basketball star throwing out the first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game over the summer. Jones’s on-court success, combined with her charisma off the court, makes her a compelling and viable college sports figure.

8. Caitlin Clark, University of Iowa


Caitlin Clark is lighting up the court for Iowa basketball and Team USA, leading the U.S. Under-19 squad to a gold medal in the FIBA World Cup in August. As one of college basketball’s top talents and scorers, Clark will likely be a magnet for NIL deals, something the Iowa star has expressed interest in. “As a female college athlete, valuable opportunities could come in our college career that may not be given at a professional level, especially with the support of female athletics we have here in the state of Iowa.”

9. Zia Cooke, University of South Carolina


University of South Carolina basketball guard Zia Cooke is one of the first athletes to take advantage of the NIL rulings, inking a deal with Bojangles and putting on a for-profit basketball camp in her hometown of Toledo, OH. With 196,000 followers on Instagram, Cooke’s NIL profile is likely to continue to grow.

10. Kaila Novak, UCLA


Kaila Novak, the UCLA soccer star, had a breakout 2020 season, earning her stripes as a Pac-12 All-Freshman honoree. The sophomore also has a significant social media following, including 131,000 followers on Instagram, where she promotes specific brands, including nate, a shopping app.

New NCAA policy allowing student-athletes to profit off their name, image, and likeness has changed the game of college sports forever, and female athletes are already cashing in.

A growing list of college athletes (and even some high school stars) are inking partnership deals and signing with sponsors, proving the profitability of women’s sports.

Haley and Hanna Cavinder, Fresno State

@haleycavinder, @hanna.cavinder

The Cavinder twins were some of the first athletes to sign a sponsorship deal, announcing a partnership with Boost Mobile shortly after NIL restrictions were lifted. According to some estimations, the basketball duo could make more than their coach this season. 

Lexi Sun, University of Nebraska 


Volleyball standout Lexi Sun has opted for deals that enable her to express her personal style, signing sponsorships with Borsheims and REN Athletics.  For her partnership with Borsheims, Sun created a unique jewelry collection, and her custom-designed sweatshirt with REN Athletics quickly sold out. Sun is the first female athlete from Nebraska to sign a NIL deal. 

Aliyah Boston, South Carolina

South Carolina women’s basketball star Aliyah Boston inked her first partnership deal in July with Bojangles, a regional fast-food chicken chain. With her significant social media following (36,000 on Instagram) and basketball credentials (First Team All-American in 2021), she is likely to attract other NIL opportunities in the future. Boston recently signed with NIL agency Octagon Basketball, the same company representing Louisville’s Hailey Van Lith.

Azzi Fudd and Jaiden Fields

@azzi35, @jaidenfields

UConn basketball star Azzi Fudd (last year’s No. 1 recruit) and Georgia softball star Jaiden Fields are now Chipotle’s first-ever college athlete ambassadors. Their partnership will help promote Chipotle’s “Real Food For Real Athletes” platform, which is focused on “helping athletes of all levels perform their best through real food and real ingredients.” Fudd is also partnering with Chipotle to help support underrepresented communities.

Olivia Dunne, Louisiana State University


With more than 5.7 million followers on TikTok and Instagram, Olivia Dunne is the most followed student-athlete on social media. The LSU gymnast is predicted to reach $1 million in NIL deals even after just finishing her freshman year. Activewear brand Vuori and plant-based wellness company PlantFuel are among Dunne’s growing list of partnerships. 

Jada Williams, UCLA commit


16-year-old UCLA commit Jada Williams is already cashing in on her NIL rights, even before she steps foot on campus. Williams inked a multi-year deal with Spalding, making her a brand ambassador for both the company’s basketball equipment and its sportswear. Williams joins a stacked roster of athletes, which includes Damian Lillard, DeMar DeRozan and Ezi Magbegor.

Taylor Burrell, Jaelin Howell, Rayniah Jones, Trinity Thomas

@taylor.burrell, @jaehowell, @rayniahjones, @gymtrin

Milner Technologies, a workflow solutions company, struck a sponsorship deal with four female athletes from Florida, including Taylor Burrell (University of Miami, volleyball), Jaelin Howell (Florida State, soccer), Rayniah Jones (University of Central Florida, track & field), and Trinity Thomas (University of Florida, gymnastics). Each athlete will receive $5,000 each with an opportunity for further earnings down the road.

Mia Raffael, Kathleen Jones, Hannah Preissler

@mia_raffaele, @kathleen.m.jones, @hannah.preissler

GoPuff, an e-commerce food delivery service, is offering all student-athletes an endorsement program. Participants will receive payment for promoting GoPuff on social media and through other marketing platforms. Athletes including Mia Raffael (University of Miami, track & field), Kathleen Jones (Ohio State University, tennis), and Hannah Preissler (University of Nebraska, track & field) have signed up for the partnership.

Degree Deodorant’s inaugural #BreakingLimits Athletes 

A group of inspiring college female athletes were chosen for Degree Deodorant’s inaugural #BreakingLimits marketing campaign. Degree’s historic program was intended to celebrate the landmark NIL movement and will highlight each college athlete’s personal story of overcoming adversity.

Team members include: Charlotte Teeter (Texas Tech, soccer), Dana Rettke (University of Wisconsin, volleyball), Gloria Mutiri (University of Oregon, volleyball), Asikia O’Neal (University of Texas, volleyball), Bailey Moody (University of Alabama, wheelchair basketball), Chayla Edwards (University of Wisconsin, Ice hockey), Emma Hoffart (Missouri Western State University, softball), Jazmyn Foberg (University of Florida, gymnastics), Jhenna Gabriel (University of Texas, volleyball), Lawrence Sapp (University of Cincinnati, Para-Swimming), Logan Eggleston (University of Texas, volleyball).

You know Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, Allyson Felix and the other household names competing in the Summer Olympics.

Before the opening ceremony Friday marks the official start of the Games, get to know the teenage athletes who could medal in Tokyo and contend for titles for years to come.

1. Katie Grimes, 15 

Country: USA

Event: Swimming

About: At the young age of 15, Katie Grimes was the breakout star at the U.S. Olympic Swim trials. She’ll be competing in the women’s 800-meter freestyle in Tokyo alongside highly-decorated Olympian Katie Ledecky. Grimes is the youngest swimmer to make the Olympic team since Ledecky in 2012. Even Ledecky is already singing Grimes’ praises, saying she’s “the future,” and “the now.”

2. Athing Mu, 19

Country: USA

Event: Track and Field

About: Fresh off of breaking the Olympic Trials track record in the 800-meter dash, Athing Mu is being touted as the country’s next great middle-distance runner. Mu, who competed at Texas A&M before turning pro this summer, holds NCAA records for both the 400 meters (49.57) and the 800 meters (1:57.73). In regards to feeling pressure as a running prodigy, Mu says, “I take everything that people say lightly. I don’t let it get to my head.”

3. Hannah Roberts, 19

Country: USA

Event: Cycling

About: BMX Cycling is making its Olympic debut in Tokyo, and so is Hannah Roberts. Roberts is a highly decorated star on the BMX freestyle circuit. In 2019, she won all three World Cup events in addition to her second world championship. Roberts is a gold-medal favorite in her event in Japan, and she could become the first teenage woman to win an Olympic cycling medal.

4. Hend Zaza, 12

Country: Syria

Event: Table tennis

About: Representing Syria, 12-year-old Hend Zaza is set to be the youngest Olympian in 52 years. She’s also beating the odds: Zaza has been able to participate in only two or three external matches a year due to war. If you haven’t watched table tennis before, Zaza’s stellar talent will make you want to follow this Olympic sport in Tokyo.

5. Torri Huske, 18

Country: USA

Event: Swimming

About: Having just graduated from high school and heading to Stanford next year, Torri Huske managed to break the 100-meter butterfly record twice at the Olympic swimming trials last month. Twenty-four hours after she broke the U.S. record in prelims by .20 seconds, she broke her own record again. Starting off as a “normal little kid who worked hard,” she will now be one of 11 teenagers to compete for the U.S. swimming team in Tokyo.

6.Grace McCallum, 18

Country: USA

Event: Gymnastics

About: Grace McCallum was named to the four-person team representing the U.S. at the Summer Olympics following the national trials in June, an achievement that seemed nearly impossible when she broke her hand earlier in the year. McCallum, who had already competed at the U.S. Classic and the National Championships, finished fourth at the Olympic Trials. The 18-year-old’s specialties include uneven bars and balance beam.

7. Caroline Marks, 19

Country: USA

Event: Surfing

About: Surfing standout Caroline Marks took the world by storm in 2018. In her breakout year, as the youngest surfer ever to qualify for the Women’s Championship Tour, Marks was named Rookie of The Year and finished with a No. 7 world ranking. Now ranked sixth on the Championship Tour, Marks spoke with Just Women’s Sports about her rapid ascension to the top of her sport.

8. Kokona Hiraki, 12

Country: Japan

Event: Skateboarding

About: At the age of 12, Kokona Hiraki will be one of the host country’s youngest and most admired stars. After ranking fifth at the final Tokyo Olympics qualifier for women’s park skateboarding, Hiraki will now be the youngest Japanese Summer Olympian ever. Her dedication to her craft is next level: After practicing a nosegrind trick over and over again, Hiraki wrote, “You can feel all the things I love about skateboarding through this trick. The unstableness from being just on the front truck on the coping, the sound of grinding, and the satisfaction when you make it.”

9. Nevin Harrison, 19

Country: USA

Event: Canoeing

About: Canoe sprint world champion Nevin Harrison is heading to the Tokyo Olympics with high expectations. In 2019, she became the first American to win a world sprint canoe title by clinching the women’s C1 200-meter event. Harrison is also a strong advocate for women’s canoeing’s inclusion in the Olympics, saying, “I think it’s more important to have every group represented rather than having a lot in just one gender or discipline,” Harrison said.

10. Sunisa Lee, 18

Country: USA

Event: Gymnastics

About: After coping with family illness, COVID-19 related deaths, and injury, Sunisa Lee claimed a coveted spot on the U.S. women’s gymnastics team by finishing in the top two at the Olympic trials. “It’s the unparalleled mental strength that she has shown during the most difficult time of her life that makes her the person she is,” said 2008 All-Around champion Nastia Liukin. Lee, whose parents emigrated from Laos, will be the first-ever Hmong American Olympic gymnast. While she’s an incredible all-around talent, she’s especially known for her bar routine.

11. Sky Brown, 13

Country: Great Britain

Event: Skateboarding

About: Sky Brown is arguably one of the biggest and brightest stars of any age at this year’s Olympics. At just 13 years and 11 days, she’ll be the youngest Summer Olympian for Great Britain. A fearless and promising athlete, Brown is currently ranked fourth in the world and is highly respected in the skateboarding community. “She could definitely be one of the best female skaters ever… she has such confidence, such force, even at such a young age. The way she’s able to learn new tricks and the way she absorbs direction, it’s so rare,” said skateboarding legend Tony Hawk.

12. Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova, 16

Country: Great Britain

Event: Gymnastics

About: 16-year-old twin sisters Jessica and Jennifer Gadirova will be each other’s support systems in Tokyo, as they will represent half of Great Britain’s four-person gymnastics team. Jessica flourished at the 2021 European Championships, where she won the bronze in the all-around and silver in vault, and she became the European champion in the floor exercise. Jennifer, a strong vaulter and floor gymnast, is known for her difficult tumbles and eye-catching choreography.

13. Viktoria Listunova, 16

Country: Russia

Event: Gymnastics

About: The postponement of the 2020 Olympics allowed 16-year-old Russian gymnast Viktoria Listunova to be eligible for the 2021 Olympics. “It’s such an opportunity, it is such a big chance,” Listunova says. She is determined to make the most of this opportunity and is considered a possible contender to upset world champion Simone Biles.

14. Rosalie Boissoneault, 18

Country: Canada

Event: Synchronized Swimming

About: A native of Québec, Canada, Rosalie Boissoneault joins the Canadian synchronized swimming team as one of its newest members. She is making her Olympic debut at just 18 years old after joining the senior national team in 2020. Starting in her sport at the age of 3, Boissoneault is a young star looking to make a splash in Tokyo.

15. Rayssa Leal, 12

Country: Brazil

Event: Skateboarding

About: Another young Olympic phenom and friend of Sky Brown is Brazilian skateboarder Rayssa Leal (pronounced “Hi-ee-sa”), known for her many viral trick videos. She is currently second in the World Street Skateboarding rankings. Giving props to her supportive family, Rayssa says, “they don’t pressure me to always win and be first, they encourage me to do what I like, which is skateboarding.”

16. Regan Smith, 19

Country: USA

Event: Swimming

About:  Regan Smith, the current world-record holder in the women’s 200-meter backstroke, is heading to her first Olympics to represent Team USA. This young star showed off her talent during the World Championships in 2019, where she broke two world records: the 100- and the 200-meter backstroke. Smith will be taking a gap year and plans to attend Stanford in 2022.

17. Brighton Zeuner, 17

Country: USA

Event: Skateboarder

About: Zeuner is coming to the Olympics as a decorated skater with serious competitive chops. She’s the youngest recipient in history to have won two X Games gold medals, and she also holds a Vans Park Series World Championship title. Her great passion and love for skateboarding pushed her to keep going and get her to where she is now. ‘”I love it. Because of skateboarding, I’m kind of who I am. I get validation out of it. It makes me feel human. It’s just a part of me,”’ Zeuner said.

18. Hailey Hernandez, 18

Country: USA

Event: Diving

About: Hailey Hernandez started competing right out of high school and surprised the diving world by placing second in the women’s three-meter springboard at the Olympic trials. “When I hit that water, I knew that I had done it and so I just had the biggest smile on my face,” Hernandez says. Her hometown in Southlake, Texas, threw the two-time World Junior Championship silver medalist an epic Olympic send-off event and will be rooting hard for her this summer.

19. Gaurika Singh, 19

Country: Nepal

Event: Swimming

About: Nepali swimmer Gaurika Singh will represent her country both in the pool and as the flag bearer. The 19-year-old was the youngest athlete at the 2016 Rio Olympics at 13 years and 255 days, and she was chosen to lead the five-member Nepali team in the opening ceremony this year. Singh has collected over nine medals during the South Asian Games and set a record for the most gold medals in 2019.

20. Oceana Mackenzie, 19

Country: Australia

Event: Sport Climbing

About: Australian sport climbing star Oceana Mackenzie will help introduce this new Olympic sport to the world. She started climbing at age of 8 and has been passionate about it ever since. “I love how it’s mentally and physically challenging,” she says. “I have to see the climbs and figure out how to get up them — it’s almost like working out a puzzle.”