The Luxury SUV Is Symbolic of the Newly Liberated College Athlete

From a story on headlined “College mogul”:

Armando Bacot, star center for UNC Chapel Hill’s basketball team, drives an $80,000, Carolina-Blue Audi Q8 that’s the talk of campus.

Why it matters: The luxury SUV is “symbolic of the newly liberated college athlete,” Bruce Schoenfeld writes in today’s N.Y. Times Magazine cover story.

In this new era when college players can profit from their names, images and likenesses (NIL), Bacot’s portfolio of deals totals well over $500,000, according to his mother, Christie Lomax, who acts as his manager.

In the past, he likely would have entered the NBA draft. But since he now can “make money and still remain a student, he chose to return to Chapel Hill for another season,” Schoenfeld writes.

“Usually, at the end of a Final Four run, your best players leave,” UNC Athletic Director Bubba Cunningham said.

Now, athletes can even accept money from boosters. “It’s not a hole in the dike,” Vince Ille, a senior associate athletic director under Cunningham, said of the NCAA’s change of course. “It’s the obliteration of the entire dam.”

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