Leading Cleveland State athletics sponsor Harvard Title Agency has inked a groundbreaking name, image, and likeness (NIL) contract with the Vikings women’s basketball program, HoriZone Roundtable WBB has learned.
The company, a real estate title and escrow agency based in Cleveland, is engaging all eligible Vikings women’s basketball student-athletes for what it calls “marketing services,” which will include social media posts and appearances in Harvard’s advertising collateral.
While team-wide NIL opportunities – fueled by the rise of collectives formed for the specific purpose of generating NIL opportunities – has become somewhat commonplace across college sports since the advent of NIL rules during the summer of 2021 at schools like Georgia, Florida State, and Ohio State, CSU’s deal with Harvard Title Agency is believed to be the first such agreement in the Horizon League.
Harvard Title Agency president Clark Broida and his wife, Marie Kittredge, are hardly strangers to large-scale financial support for Cleveland State athletics. Recently, they helped purchase a new video display board for Woodling Gymnasium, the home of the Vikings’ volleyball, wrestling, and fencing teams. They’ve also provided lead gifts to purchase new starting blocks at Busbey Natatorium along with a planned update to the bullpens and batting cages at CSU’s softball field.
“We believe that more than any institution, Cleveland State University is the present and future of Northeast Ohio,” Broida said. “The local business community needs to step up to support these student athletes because they represent Cleveland in a positive way as they compete across the country.”
The agreement, which also includes four members of CSU’s volleyball and softball teams, comes during a period where Cleveland State is looking to grow its NIL portfolio. Three weeks ago, during his monthly public update, Vikings athletic director Scott Garrett said that CSU largely took a wait-and-see approach during the first year of NIL rules, focusing on student-athlete education – though a handful, including Destiny Leo, used the opportunity to develop their individual brands.
“We really took the first year of the NIL space to learn ourselves and see what would take shape in the space across intercollegiate athletics,” he said, before adding that CSU planned to ramp things up this year.
“We’ll really take that next step of being more proactive and trying to facilitate that activity,” he added, citing the Horizon League’s agreement with NIL platform Opendorse. “A student-athlete that wants to be successful in NIL activity to the extent that that’s possible here at a place like Cleveland State, we’ll help them identify opportunities and be successful at it.”