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Michigan State Basketball: Which Spartan tips the scale, NIL-wise?

Who’s making bank off of NIL?

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Michigan State basketball
© Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Beginning in July 2021, Michigan State basketball joined the list of programs allowing student athletes to benefit from NIL.

With each incoming recruiting class, aspects such a NIL deals become more and more of a deciding factor for all student athletes. Even in it’s infancy, it was obvious that Name, Image, and Likeness would bring major changes to collegiate athletics.

For those who don’t know what NIL exactly is, it refers to the use of an athlete’s name, image, and likeness through marketing and promotional endeavors. Essentially, this allows student athletes to receive financial compensation based on things such as performance, social media presence, and popularity.

So where do the Spartans, specifically within the Michigan State basketball program, currently rank in terms of NIL deals?

According to On3’s NIL Valuation, of the top 25 Spartan student athletes, only three reside on the basketball side, NIL-wise. The other 22 fall under Mel Tucker on the gridiron.

Unsurprisingly, as he just made a massive announcement via Instagram, Tyson Walker comes in as the top basketball earner at the moment. Currently at No. 3 within the MSU rankings, and No. 60 among all college basketball, Tyson’s NIL valuation sits at $135,000.

After a slow start following his transfer from Northeastern University, Walker was Michigan State’s best player down the stretch this past season, while simultaneously acting as a massive fan favorite as well. After deciding to come back for his fifth year, there is no reason to think Walker will relinquish his spot as top Michigan State basketball earner.

Walker was not the only Michigan State basketball player to find themselves on this list, however.

Including Walker, six of Tom Izzo’s players made the top 50 Michigan State earners.

3. Tyson Walker – $135,000
13. Joey Hauser – $62,000
25. A.J. Hoggard – $42,000
37. Jaden Akins – $31,000
40. Tre Holloman – $29,000
46. Jaxon Kohler – $27,000

To put these numbers in perspective, the average NIL deal for college athletics across the country currently sits at about $35,354. This number encapsulates more than 6,300 student athletes. When adding the elite high schoolers to this average, the $35k drops to almost $28,000 as they are often earning much less than at the college level. Utilizing the $35,000 average, only three Spartans earned above that average. Walker, Hauser, and Hoggard all clocked in above the national average.

For what it’s worth, Michigan State’s largest athletic earner at the moment is incoming four-star freshman defensive end Bai Jobe at $155,000. The nation’s largest NIL deal is currently owned by none other than Bronny James with $7.2 million.

With such a great recruiting class coming in for Tom Izzo, I would expect one of two members to join the Spartan six on this list sooner rather than later.

Writer and contributor for Spartan Shadows. Tyler Dutton, a graduate of Michigan State, is a college and professional basketball specialist with over four years of experience writing on both the Spartans and Pistons.

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