Sabrina Ionescu to Serve as Chief Athlete Officer of Oregon-Focused NIL Company

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 30, 2021

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA - MARCH 08:  Sabrina Ionescu #20 of the Oregon Ducks high-fives a teammate as they take on the Stanford Cardinal during the championship game of the Pac-12 Conference women's basketball tournament at the Mandalay Bay Events Center on March 8, 2020 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Ducks defeated the Cardinal 89-56.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu was named as chief athlete officer for Division Street, a company launched by Oregon alumni and donors, including Nike co-founder Phil Knight, to help Ducks athletes capitalize on name, image and likeness opportunities.

"As an athlete navigating the world of brand and partnerships myself, I see a real opportunity to provide today’s college players more professional counsel as they grapple with the new NIL landscape," Ionescu said.

Sabrina Ionescu @sabrina_i20

So honored to be involved with Division Street! Call me Chief Athlete Officer from now on😉 Go Ducks! <a href="https://t.co/87qWMv4LoC">https://t.co/87qWMv4LoC</a>

Knight is the most prominent member of the venture, which deepens his longstanding connection—and by extension Nike's—with his alma mater. 

Rosemary St. Clair, a former vice president and general manager of Nike Women, was named Division Street CEO, and another former Nike executive, Rudy Chapa, will be the chairman of the board.

As part of her role with Division Street, Ionescu will host quarterly seminars with Oregon athletes to share her experiences and provide expertise.

The 23-year-old just missed out on the windfall some of the top college stars have received as a result of NIL legislation.

Ionescu helped guide Oregon to the 2019 Final Four and won the Naismith Player of the Year in 2020.  By the time she left Eugene, she was one of the most famous players in college basketball.

Forbes' Kristi Dosh told Matt Brown of SB Nation in November 2019 the dynamic playmaker could have likely earned $2,000 to $5,000 monthly through her social media accounts alone. That doesn't take into account the money she might have received from more traditional endorsements.

The Wall Street Journal's Rachel Bachman spoke with Opendorse, who estimated Connecticut sophomore guard Paige Bueckers could hit $1 million annually. Bueckers already signed with Wasserman and filed a trademark for her "Paige Buckets" nickname.

At Oregon, star defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux didn't waste time to capitalize on the new NIL rules. He partnered with eBay to auction off a piece of artwork, released his own cryptocurrency and signed a deal with United Airlines.