Olivia Dunne is preaching patience to those looking to capitalize on the sudden NIL surge.
In a recent interview with The Street, LSU’s superstar gymnast — whose name, image and likeness boasts a seven-figure valuation — advised prospective and current college athletes to take their time when navigating potential opportunities in this budding environment.
“I would say first and foremost, find a really good agent. That was the first thing I did. And just take your time. Don’t rush into anything. Don’t be in a rush to make a lot of money. Take your time because it’ll come,” Dunne said.
“NIL is such an unprecedented area. At first, when it changed, nobody knew really what was going on. I didn’t. LSU didn’t, and other universities didn’t, and the brands didn’t know either. So, to just take your time and the money will be there.”
Student-athletes such as Dunne have been able to profit off of themselves ever since the NCAA’s rule change in 2021.
The New Jersey native, 20, has since secured brand deals with various companies, including the activewear line Vuori.
With a NIL valuation of $3.4 million, according to On3 Sports, Dunne said another important ingredient of success is to “surround yourself with trustworthy people.”
“I have my family, my coaches, my team, very trustworthy people. Make sure there’s people that aren’t going to use you for that money,” she said.
In the event of a windfall, Dunne encourages savings and investing.
“For other athletes, especially, that are in college, I would say spend your money like a college student, put all that money away, invest it, and just spend it like a normal college kid,” she said.
Dunne’s profile has only continued to rise in recent weeks as she made her highly anticipated debut in this year’s edition of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit.
In the case of critics looking to chirp about her success, Dunne told the publication she does her best not to pay it any mind.
“There’s always people who want to downplay your success and say it’s just because of how you look or it’s just luck,” Dunne said.
“I don’t give that negativity too much attention because it doesn’t deserve it. If I want girls to hear my message, I need to focus on what I want to say and not waste my time getting defensive about people who don’t take the time to understand what I do.”