Is Tyler Shough The First College Athlete to Propose With an NIL Deal?
Texas Tech quarterback Tyler Shough announced his engagement to former Oregon soccer player Jordan Wormdahl earlier this month. Shough shared the news on social media and gave a shout-out to local jewelry store Thacker Jewelry in the post.
At the time, I assumed it was just a shout-out to the place where he bought the ring, but Boardroom confirmed the shoutout was indeed part of a NIL deal for Shough.
The lovely couple was in Cabo San Lucas on vacation when the proposal went down and Shough was doing a 'photoshoot' for an unrelated NIL deal when he popped the question to his girlfriend who he met while playing football for the Oregon Ducks.
“I had to frame it as something else,” Shough told Boardroom. “It was kind of telling a little white lie. I’m not gonna just go on a random photo shoot on the beach just for no reason. I know that’s something we wouldn’t do.”
It wasn't a random photoshoot though, Shough is also working with Lifestyle by Laura who is an Instagram Influencer and stylist to professional athletes.
Shough has done a few different NIL deals in his time as the starting quarterback at Texas Tech. Namely, he worked with Cardinals Sportscenter last year to do work for Breast Cancer research. A cause dear to his heart with his mother being a cancer survivor herself.
There have been countless collegiate athletes to propose to their girlfriends, with many doing so after games. Texas Tech's Toddrick Gotcher proposed to his fiance on the court of the United Supermarkets Arena. To my knowledge though, Shough is the first to leverage a NIL deal into an engagement ring.
In my mind, this is the perfect representation of NIL. It's not money-hungry or a recruiting grab. It's an athlete using his personal influence for the good of the community while getting something in return. Local companies would love for natural fits like this across America I'm sure.