Football players at the University of New Mexico might not be close to receiving the type of money as do some players at Power Five programs such as Miami and Texas, but that hasn’t stopped some Lobos from seeking name, image and likeness deals, or in Bryce Santana’s case, starting a clothing line business.
The UNM compliance department provided some websites for student-athletes to reach out to NIL companies last fall, Santana said.
“I saw an (NIL Threads) ad to make your own clothing brand,” said Santana, a redshirt sophomore defensive lineman from Los Lunas High. “I hit them up, and basically I had to pay a certain amount up front, they created a logo for me and they designed my clothes for me. And now it’s my brand. I get to control how much it’s priced and if I want a new product. I’ve just been advertising on my social media. It’s a pretty a good deal.”
Santana said he has always wanted his own company, so he’s getting an early start on it.
He’s very pleased with the logo, that’s similar to a wolf, yet also has a subtle showing of the Zia symbol. His clothing line, at BDstrength.com, includes hats, backpacks, hoodies and jersey tees that have his No. 51 on them. Purchases that are $50 and above can be made with four interest-free installments.
“Every time I see someone order from my website, it’s just a good feeling,” Santana said. “If I’m around the phone it gives that ‘cha-ching’ ring notification. It gives me butterflies in my stomach.”
UNM sophomore quarterback Isaiah Chavez, a Rio Rancho graduate who came to the Lobos as a walk-on and is now on scholarship, said he has an NIL “partnership” with America’s Mattress, a local chain that has six stores in New Mexico.
Chavez said he has been featured in one commercial for the company and is working on another one.
Chavez, a backup, has led the Lobos to three of the five wins under Gonzales since beginning as a fifth-string quarterback in 2000. He’s known for his finger guns celebration, but he said that is not included in the commercials.
“That’s strictly a game thing, not even in practice,” Chavez said of his finger guns celebration. “The guns stay in game for sure.”