BOCA RATON, Fla. — The Florida Atlantic University Owls are soaring yet again.
The 20th-ranked Owls are riding a seven-game win streak, but it's not just on the court where they are having an impact.
Last year's Final Four appearance and this season's ongoing success have paid off away from the court.
Talking to a casual college basketball fan about two years ago, they probably couldn't tell you much about the FAU men's basketball team.
Thanks to a Cinderella run last year during March Madness, the team is now exciting everyone on the court and with revenue through name, image and likeness (NIL) deals.
Companies can now pay college athletes after NIL was implemented about three years ago.
"They've used this as a learning and business opportunity, and they've taken advantage of the status of the publicity that we've received," FAU men's basketball coach Dusty May said. "They've been able to go out, and they've done commercials. They've used their status on social media to promote brands."
The FAU men's basketball program finished with a 19-15 record in 2022 and saw minimal NIL dollars throughout the program.
But after last spring's Final Four run, the Owls have seen NIL dollars impact the program, causing May to coach his team on the court and in financial literacy.
"We've had several talks with them, even as far as the guys that have to make public appearances," May said, "keeping mileage logs for tax purposes, saving a good portion of your money to pay taxes when they're done. Financial advisers, a few of them have become financial advisers."
May didn't disclose the exact dollar amount his team has made since the Final Four but assured WPTV that his players are well taken care of on and off the court.
FAU has partnered with TheLinkU, which the college spokeswoman said helps athletes leverage their brand and connect with local and national businesses to help find the best opportunities.
While the NCAA's guidelines say using potential name, image and likeness earnings to recruit kids colleges is illegal, May said he knows recruits look at their possible earnings.
"We don't sell it a lot in recruiting, and if that's one of the first questions, we say this is probably not the right place for you," May said. "We think our entire roster is taken care of very well. We want recruits to come to this program because they think they will be developed into well-rounded young men and succeed on the court. Those results will be a by-product of how we do everything else."