Name, image, likeness and chocolate: Former North Murray standout, UGA receiver McConkey cashes in on new collegiate sponsorship rules

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Jul. 9—Add another skill to the set of the versatile Ladd McConkey, a former North Murray High School multi-sport standout and current wide receiver at the University of Georgia.

He can sell chocolate, too.

Thanks to the new rules that took effect July 1 in college sports that allow athletes to capitalize financially on their name, image and likeness, McConkey landed a partnership from a local chocolate salesman.

"Check out the EASIEST & MOST profitable fundraiser ever! I'm proud to partner with Mike Nichols, a rep for World's Finest Chocolate in NW Georgia," McConkey posted on his Instagram account Thursday.

Attempts to reach McConkey for comment were unsuccessful.

Nichols, based in Rome, is a representative for the chocolate fundraising company. The organization often partners with schools to offer chocolate bars of various flavors in bulk for fundraising opportunities.

The new rules are a landmark change for college sports, where debates have raged over whether players of money-making sports — including football at major-conference schools like Georgia — deserve payment for play.

Amid legislation from several states that bars the NCAA from preventing student-athletes from making money off of their fame earned from their play, the governing body decided to let individual schools police the sponsorship deals that their players sign beginning July 1.

According to The Associated Press, the new rules allow compensation "earned by college athletes for use of their fame or celebrity, either their name, their image or a likeness of who they are. Examples include being paid for autographs, appearing in an advertisement or providing a social media shoutout. It means that a business can strike a deal with an athlete and pay them to tout their services or product."

McConkey, who graduated from North Murray in 2020, mainly spent time on the scout team last season at UGA. He's headed into his redshirt freshman season for the Bulldogs.

He starred for the Mountaineers, playing at several positions all over the field for North Murray.

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