It used to be College athletes couldn’t make money; Now, 133 MSU athletes are making thousands


EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – MSU football and men’s basketball players will be getting some green thanks to a new sponsorship.

The deal will be worth thousands of dollars for each player

It’s going to be a $500 stipend every month for the school year for each of the 133 men’s basketball and football players.

College athletes weren’t allowed to profit off their name, image and likeness prior to this year since they’re still considered amateur athletes.

Now, thanks to a former Spartan even some walk-ons are getting in on the action.

“We’ve been working on this for months to figure out the right way to take care of our Spartan family,” said Mat Ishbia, president and CEO of United Wholesale Mortgage. “How can it be a win for the athletes a win for Michigan state university and a win for UWM?”

The new rule change allows athletes to accept sponsorships and get paid.

But generally speaking, it’s been individuals who have done it early on. However, for Ishbia who was a walkon himself on MSUs 2000 championship basketball team, he wanted to reach all levels of athletes.

“What we thought about is we want to take care of every student-athlete that we can so it’s not just the star quarterback,” Ishbia said. “We wanted walkons, redshirt players, third-string, first-string… That’s what coach Izzo instilled in us, we’re a family .”

Some of MSU’s current athletes say they’re excited for what this could mean.

“It’s pretty cool, we’re very thankful for what he and Mateen Cleaves have done,” said MSU quarterback Payton Thorne. “It’s pretty awesome, very generous of them.”

“I think it’s just a great opportunity for athletes all around,” added running back Kenneth Walker. “We’re blessed to be in this position.”

Ishbia said this is just the beginning. He needed a place to start, so naturally, he started with his former program and the largest revenue-generating sport. He hopes others come soon.

“This is just dipping our toe in, lets see how this thing goes and can we expand it. Men’s, women’s, revenue, nonrevenue.”

As for the future of this, and the role it plays in getting athletes to come to Michigan State, Ishbia wants this to set a trend.

“I’m hoping other companies come in and take care of the cross country team,” Ishbia said. “Or others help the football team and we help the tennis team and the women’s soccer and the next thing you know, it evolves to where Michigan State athletes are taken care of by Michigan State families like ourselves and companies like ourselves.”

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