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NHL's Florida Panthers offer NIL deals to all female student-athletes at FAU

Part of the Florida Atlantic University campus is shown Jan. 23, 2014, in Boca Raton, Fla. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Part of the Florida Atlantic University campus is shown Jan. 23, 2014, in Boca Raton, Fla. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The Florida Panthers offered endorsement deals to every female student-athlete at nearby Florida Atlantic University, the NHL team announced Wednesday.

The Panthers created the "FLA Athlete" program earlier this summer after the state of Florida passed a law that ensured college athletes were allowed to profit from their names, images and likenesses.

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The NCAA also adjusted its amateurism bylaws to allow student-athletes the ability to earn money for certain activities without losing their eligiblity.

As part of the endorsement deal, each female student-athlete at FAU will receive cash, merchandise and tickets to Panthers games in exchange for promoting the NHL organization on social media and at in-person events. The two athletes who create the most buzz on social media during the season will receive a large bonus payment.

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"We're excited to announce this next stage of our 'FLA Athlete' program and bring an entire collegiate athlete women's program into our Panthers family," Sam Doerr, the Panthers' chief strategy officer, said in a statement Wednesday. "We look forward to supporting and collaborating with these talented female athletes in our South Florida community on innovative ideas and events in South Florida."

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Doerr said the franchise viewed the NIL deals as an opportunity to give back to the community while attracting new fans.

"We thought this was a terrific opportunity to attract new fans," Doerr said. "We already spend money with social media influencers, so we're just shifting that to the athletes."

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The Panthers first signed University of Miami quarterback D'Eriq King to a similar NIL deal last month. King, who is the co-founder of a company called Dreamfield that helps college athletes arrange NIL deals, helped facilitate the details of the offer the Panthers are extending to FAU's female athletes.

At least 100 athletes are expected to take part in the new partnership, according to Doerr. FAU women's athletic programs include: basketball; beach volleyball; golf; soccer; softball; swimming and diving; tennis; cross country and track and field; volleyball and spirit.

Also Wednesday, FAU quarterback N'Kosi Perry signed an endorsement deal with Islamorada Beer Company, making him the first NCAA athlete to partner with an organization that sells alcohol under the new NIL rules.

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The 23-year-old Perry is a graduate transfer who spent four years at the University of Miami. He threw for 2,484 yards and had 24 touchdowns during his time with the Hurricanes.

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In his first game with the Owls this season, Perry recorded 261 passing yards and one touchdown in FAU's 35-14 loss to Florida.

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