With many dollars up for grabs in the name, image, and likeness arena, one college athlete will be using his earnings for a better cause.
Forbes reports Michigan State University’s Mady Sissoko is donating his NIL earnings to The Mady Sissoko Foundation. The contribution will directly support those from his home country in West Africa.
Sissoko was compelled to make a difference as he never forgot his living conditions while growing up in Bafoulabé, Mali. He recalls walking to class with other students barefoot with few having the proper school supplies.
“Yeah, I did walk to school with no shoes,” Sissoko said, according to Forbes.
Sissoko had a chance to have a better life when he moved to the United States seven years ago to play basketball. He isn’t taking the opportunity for granted, and he will never forget where his story begins.
When he landed his NIL deal with Detroit-based Helium Sports & Entertaining Marketing Inc., he decided to donate his marketing income directly to his foundation. The contribution will work to ensure impoverished people in Mali can change their circumstances by creating opportunities.
“I moved here when I was 15 and I know what it was like back home, and now Mali is a really poor country and there’s a lot of people there who need help,” Sissoko said, according to Forbes. “I have an opportunity to help many people over there and I want to do that, so having this NIL stuff gives me an opportunity to do that. I want to do something to help people, especially the youth, so they can have a better opportunity going forward in life.”
“I was not surprised to hear that Mady would use his NIL opportunities to help others,” said Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, according to Forbes. “He’s a kid who we just love because he works so hard and is dedicated to being the best that he can, and that goes on the court and off. To know that he created his own foundation to help the impoverished people of where he grew up in Mali, and to help create solutions for drinking water and to provide English classes does not surprise me. He is a kind and generous guy who has a deep care for others, especially those in his hometown. Mady is a testament to the good that we all can do.”
Sissoko’s gesture sets an example for how international athletes could put their NIL earnings to good use. As AfroTech previously mentioned, the NIL arena currently makes it nearly impossible for international students to pocket the money for themselves.
There have been a few loopholes as we have been learning through active players such as Oscar Tshiebwe. The Kentucky Wildcats player, also born outside the United States, was able to make NIL money while the team took a trip to the Bahamas.
Now we see Sissoko showing another gateway.
Michael Clayton, an administrator for an ophthalmology practice in Utah and the figurehead responsible for bringing Sissoko to the United States, spoke with an attorney who said if the money earned through NIL is donated, it will not violate any rules.
“He cannot receive the income but if it’s donated to charity then it’s fine,” said Justin Brantley, president and founder of Helium Sports, according to Forbes.
“They can’t take any money personally, it all has to go into the Foundation and be spent on charitable purposes,” added Clayton.