Gymnast Olivia Dunne said she formed an NIL fund to assist fellow female athletes at LSU with securing deals. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo
July 6 (UPI) -- LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne, one of the top earners in college athletics, partnered with the Bayou Traditions collective to create a fund to support female athletes at the school, she announced Thursday.
The Livvy Fund, which accepts yearly, monthly and one-time donations, will provide the athletics with "exclusive industry tips and connections" from Dunne's network, according to the Bayou Traditions website.
Dunne, 20, makes an estimated $3.5 million from name, image and likeness (NIL) deals, according to on3.com's NIL valuations. The All-American gymnast maintains a following of nearly 12 million between her Instagram, TikTok and Twitter accounts.
"As a female student-athlete, I have been fortunate enough to build a strong social media following and establish valuable brand partnerships that have launched my career in ways I couldn't imagine," Dunne said in a news release.
"I am excited to build on this momentum by leveraging my connections and sharing my knowledge in the NIL space to create more opportunities for LSU female-student athletes, while emphasizing the importance of bringing NIL funds to women in college sports."
Dunne, who was introduced in April as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model, told Sports Illustrated that she hopes the Livvy Fund is the "first of many" to support female athletes.
"I really hope to get as many women student athletes on board as I can," Dunne said. "I want to continue to elevate women's sports as a whole because they really deserve the same publicity as the men's.
"We do equal work, we put in equal time in our facilities every day and in school, so I feel like it would be right for this to be equal."
Dunne told the Full Send Podcast last week that she earned more than $500,000 from one of her NIL deals.
The Bayou Tradition collective also offers memberships for fans, with amounts ranging from $100 to $50,000 annually. According to the Internal Revenue Service, collectives "generate and pool revenue raised through contributions from a wide variety of sources, including boosters, businesses, fans and more."
Collectives are independent of schools and typically founded by alumni or supporters of athletic programs.
The NCAA's NIL policy went into effect in 2021, paving the way for athletes to generate revenue while competing at the collegiate level.
Incoming USC freshman Bronny James, Texas quarterback Arch Manning, USC quarterback Caleb Williams and LSU women's basketball star Angel Reese are among the other top earners in college sports.
NIL platform Opendorse estimates that 60% of NIL compensation went to college football players, with just 0.7% going to women's gymnastics through May 2023.
Men's basketball players received 19.2% of NIL compensation, compared to 9.2% for women's basketball players. Most athletes earned that money from social media advertisements.