Lehigh Valley IronPigs become first professional sportsman to sign endorsement deal with varsity athlete

To the casual fan, Softball Night at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown may seem like just one of a series of themed parties the Lehigh Valley IronPigs host at the stadium throughout the season.

But the theme party on July 22 will actually mark a moment in history.

Lehigh University softball player Carley Barjaktarovich will make an appearance and she will be paid to do so.

The IronPigs announced Monday that Barjaktarovich, entering his final year at Lehigh, has signed an endorsement deal with the minor league team, which the IronPigs say is a first in professional sports since the NCAA to allow college athletes to accept approvals for the use of their own name, image and likeness while continuing to compete for their college.

The team did not disclose the terms of the deal. He described his role in a press release as the first “IronPigs athlete”. In addition to appearances, she will work with the team on initiatives such as social media and merchandise.

“The IronPigs are proud to have Carley join our team as the first official IronPigs athlete,” IronPigs Senior Vice President Brian DeAngelis said in the statement. “Carley, like the IronPigs, is an innovator in this field by being the first student-athlete to join a professional sports team. “

Barjaktarovich amassed a .471 batting average as a junior shortstop in his third season with the Mountain Hawks. She batted for 3 RBIs, scored 36 points and stole 19 goals in 34 games played. She was named Patriot League Softball Defensive Player of the Year. She was named the All-Patriot League Second Team as well as the Patriot League College Athlete of the Year. Barjaktarovich was also named to the NFCA Region First Team and CoSIDA Whole District University Team.

“I am honored to have this opportunity and I am very happy to represent the IronPigs organization as a collegiate athlete,” Barjaktarovich said in the statement. “It’s a little surreal to be a part of something so new that will have a huge impact on varsity athletes for years to come. I can’t wait to see what the future holds and am happy to be a part of the IronPigs family.

The NCAA’s July 1 ruling follows the U.S. Supreme Court ruling against the association in a case involving educational benefits. Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf on the same day signed a law allowing college athletes in Pennsylvania to start earning money based on their fame and stardom without fear of penalties from their school or college. their sports association.

Under state law, schools and sports leagues cannot penalize college athletes for receiving royalties for the sale of team jerseys, college team video games, or collectible cards. university team. College athletes can also hire financial advisers, lawyers or agents to negotiate contracts on their behalf. Athletes must report contracts to their schools, and Pennsylvania law places limits on what athletes can do.

For example, college athletes in Pennsylvania cannot earn compensation in connection with adult entertainment, alcohol, casinos, gambling, betting, tobacco, vaping, prescription drugs, or drugs. illegal drugs.

Pennsylvania law also allows schools to prohibit the remuneration of an athlete for activities that they deem to conflict with “existing institutional sponsorship agreements” or “institutional values.”

During this time, schools and sports leagues cannot be required to help student-athletes obtain compensation.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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