New era of deals for college players means business considerations like taxes

In a sense, they have professional experience.

“It was a rewarding experience,” said Mitch Lightfoot, a sixth-year player in Kansas who, despite his reserve role, managed to close deals with a water bottle company and a fast food restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas. “And this is just the tip of the iceberg. This time next year, things will look very different.”

Men’s and women’s Final Four players who have already participated in high-profile programs were given an even bigger platform at the end of the tournaments.

Female players can attract even more lucrative opportunities.

As the Gender Equality Report, which looked at the men’s and women’s tournaments, notes, the Connecticut star Paige Buckers had more Instagram followers last year than the combined Final Four men’s starting lineups. She became the first college athlete to sign an agreement with Gatorade.

Alia Boston, the South Carolina star who succeeded Bukers as Naismith’s player of the year, set up a limited company over a year ago hoping she could make money from her basketball player status. She also hired a marketing agent.

Boston has two major deals, with a salon and a restaurant chain, but more are expected next year. “I will say it to life,” said her mother, Clone.

Clone Boston said she and her husband Al have long preached to their daughters the importance of being wise with money. When Alia Boston and her older sister Alexis were in elementary school, their mother stopped the car and turned to talk to them when she saw a beautiful Infiniti parked in a spot marked “renters only.” apartment building.