But they are ushering in a new era of college sports.
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 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. ”
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
“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
Until this month, the Caviinders and other college athletes were considered amateurs by the NCAA and prohibited from marketing themselves.
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.