Fresno State’s Hanna and Haley Caviinder take advantage of NCAA policy change


But they are ushering in a new era of college sports.

The twin sisters, stars of the Fresno State women’s basketball team, are arguably the main faces of the Name, Image and Likeness Movement (NIL) which now allows the best university athletes to earn money thanks to their talents and fame.
The Caviinders became official business partners this month after the National Collegiate Athletic Association, reversing decades of politics, approved an interim rule change by giving student-athletes the ability to monetize their social media subscriptions and enter into lucrative sponsorship deals.
On July 1, the day the new rules went into effect, the sisters were in New York City, doing media interviews and celebrating sponsorship deals with two companies: mobile provider Boost Mobile and Six Star Professional Nutrition, which does sports supplements. The Boost chord was trumpeted on a giant electronic billboard in Times Square. Dozens of other college athletes across the country have announced similar deals.
“This is a big change for all student-athletes”, Haley Caviinder says ESPN during the sudden media blitz of the twins. “Being able to use your name, your image and your likeness is something we all deserve, and I am truly grateful that the NCAA is finally adopting it.”
Endorsement and marketing experts estimate the Caviinders, with 3.4 million followers on TikTok, could earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a year.

And it all started with videos they made to fight boredom last year in quarantine.

As twins they are a unique brand

College juniors are both 5ft 6in – undersized for Division 1 basketball – and major in business. They rarely wear matching outfits, but their basketball stats are almost identical.

Haley Caviinder finished last season with an average of 19.8 points per game while she sister was 17. Haley Caviinder was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, and both sisters have been chosen twice by all conferences.

“Haley and Hanna are blessed with unique qualities, like being twin sisters who both excel in Division I basketball, but their fame off the court goes way beyond that,” said Frank Pucher, Senior Assistant Director of Sports at Fresno State.

“They are the perfect representation of today’s varsity athlete. They work incredibly hard in their sport, they excel academically and they have clearly thought through and defined the path they want to take in life at- beyond sport. ”

The pandemic closed the campus right after their first season. But in April of last year, with more free time, Hanna persuaded her sister to join her TikTok and make some playful videos under a shared account.
The twins filmed themselves doing synchronized dance moves, lip-syncing, three-point shooting and dribbling basketballs to hip-hop beats, and they started to become an audience. One of the dribble-dance clips, posted in August 2020, has over 27 million views.
“During quarantine, we wanted to do TikToks, a bit like the rest of the world”, Hanna Caviinder said to Bee Fresno. “Everyone was right there trying to find something to do and after that it started to grow and grow. It just happened.”

As of spring 2021, they had over 3 million subscribers on TikTok, as well as a significant number of subscribers on YouTube and Instagram, making them valuable to advertisers and sponsors trying to reach diverse audiences outside. basketball.

Their growing fame online has further bolstered their popularity with Fresno State’s fan base.

“They are fan favorites, partly because of their fame off the pitch,” said Pucher, “but more so because of the way they play the game and the success they have on the pitch.”

They started playing basketball before kindergarten

Haley and Hanna went to high school in the Phoenix suburbs and are not the first athletes in their family. Their father, Tom Caviinder, played basketball at Southeast Nova in Florida.
Before the twins started kindergarten they were already playing basketball and looking for exercises on YouTube, their parents said YourCentralValley, a news site in Fresno. Until the sixth grade, they competed in boys’ leagues.
The Caviinder twins admire their names on an electronic notice board in New York City.

“From the start they seemed super competitive,” said their mother, Katie Caviinder.

When they were 3 or 4, it wasn’t enough for them to take a dip in the family pool – they were jumping backwards, said Tom Caviinder. When the girls first slipped into the rink, they moved like they had for years. On the second round of the rink, they were skating backwards, he said.

“They have such a chip on their shoulders because of their size,” their father said.

Before reaching high school, the twins were already receiving offers from colleges to play basketball. But their fame hasn’t changed them, he said.

“They are good kids, they go to church on their own… they really care about other people,” said Tom Caviinder. “When you take all the basketball stuff off, we want all of our girls to be good people and we want them to build their own successes.”

Student-athletes launch into uncharted waters

Varsity athletics rake in billions of dollars, but the NCAA has long argued that restrictions on student-athletes are necessary to ensure they retain their amateur status and do not blur the line between college and professional sports.

Until this month, the Caviinders and other college athletes were considered amateurs by the NCAA and prohibited from marketing themselves.

Here are some of the ways NCAA athletes are embracing the new world of the 'NIL' deal.

Now they are heading into uncharted waters, hoping to secure a slice of a lucrative pie. Up to 460,000 NCAA student-athletes across the country can now sign sponsorship agreements, and major consumer brands are exploring this untapped market.

The NCAA says its interim NIL policy remain in place until federal legislation is adopted or new rules are adopted.
Meanwhile, the Caviinder twins add to their portfolio of approvals through an agreement with GoPuff, an app that delivers convenience store items. And they always dance to their own rhythm.


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