The National Collegiate Athletic Association passed the Name, Image and Likeness bill in July of 2021. This new rule allows players to profit from the usage of their name, image and likeness in any deals they may receive from sponsors.
Arizona baseball player Tyler Casagrande knew that as soon as the bill was passed that he needed to jump on the opportunity.
“Once NIL officially became a thing in July, I tried to act on it quickly and make the most of it,” Casagrande said.
Casagrande is a junior at the UA and has been playing since his freshman year. In 2021, Casagrande was awarded the Pac-12 Spring Academic Honor Roll, and in 2022 he was awarded the Institute for Sport and Social Justice January Playmaker of the Month.
When NIL was passed, Casagrande reached out to a contact he had at a company called BreakingT to try and secure a NIL deal with them.
“I had a connection to someone who worked [at BreakingT], so I reached out to them and they did a shirt for two college athletes already, so then I tried that deal I made with them in with the Banner’s Pediatric Cancer Foundation,” Casagrande said. “Once I signed the deal with them I said that all my proceeds would go to [Banner University Medical Center].”
Casagrande made the decision to reach out and partner with Banner based on his experiences as a child.
“I wanted to do the pediatric cancer sector because my dad does a lot for pediatric cancer, so I saw my parents do that growing up as a kid,” Casagrande said.
Once Casagrande knew what sector of the hospital he wanted his money to go to, he was given a tour of the facilities and got to meet some of the people who would be directly impacted by his donation.
“The cooler side of the process wasn’t the NIL deal, but actually pairing up with Banner,” Casagrande said. “I got to go to the hospital before I made my donations and I got to meet kids and parents just so I could really see where my money was going.”
After Casagrande toured the hospital and its facilities, he was given the option to choose what part of the children’s hospital the money was going to be allocated.
“For my experience visiting they showed me around and I got to meet people, but the most important thing to me was that they gave me options to choose where my money would go,” Casagrande said.
Casagrande was given the option to renovate parts of the hospital, including the rooms, but he wanted to have a different kind of impact. Ultimately, he decided that he wanted the proceeds to go towards birthday presents for children in the hospital and gas money to the families of patients, so they would be able to get to appointments while dealing with hospital bills.
Through the proceeds made from the T-shirt sales with BreakingT, Casagrande was able to provide Diamond Children’s Medical Center with $10,000 towards fighting pediatric cancer, taking some of the financial burden off of the families with children in the hospital, as well as improving the overall experience for the children.
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