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ECU QB Holton Ahlers already reaping impacts of NIL

Greenville native starts BWB company and signs with Barstool
Published: Jul. 9, 2021 at 5:44 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 9, 2021 at 6:42 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Back on July 1st, the NCAA issued a new rule allowing student-athletes to benefit from their name, image and likeness (NIL).

Three words. One concept. Lucrative change for college athletes like Greenville native and ECU starting quarterback Holton Ahlers.

On July 2nd, Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order establishing state guidelines for how student-athletes can earn compensation for their name, image and likeness.

Earlier this month, Holton Ahlers and student-athletes across the country scored a major touchdown.

“It changed my life in a lot of aspects,” Holton Ahlers told WITN Sports Friday afternoon.

The NCAA is now permitting college athletes to benefit financially from their name, image and likeness.

“When companies reach out, you can actually pursue and use your name, image and likeness to benefit you and to also benefit other people,” Ahlers explained.

Ahlers told WITN Sports he knew this change was a possibility, which is why he got the ball rolling on his company, Built When Broken.

“When you’re going through a hard time, that’s when God is building you into who you’re becoming,” Ahlers added.

Ahlers’ hard time happened in 2017, when his best friend passed away unexpectedly at the young age of 21.

“It’s something that means a lot to me and hopefully means a lot to other people now,” Ahlers said.

But how does a starting quarterback at a major university manage these additional business opportunities? Time management is key.

“It’s been fun,” said Ahlers. “It’s been stressful, but my focus is still football. My family is helping a lot with it. My best friend Josh Dees is the one helping me run Built When Broken because it is stressful. We’ve had a lot of orders thanks to the fans and the people who have heard about it and the way that it’s spreading.”

Ahlers also recently signed with Barstool Athletics.

“Really for me, it was just the branding,” explained Ahlers. “[Barstool] has a huge brand. They have a lot of people in it. A lot of people who know what they’re doing in it and really self-motivated.”

The Pirates starting quarterback said this deal with Barstool offers food, gift cards and money.

“You always want to sign with people who support you and believe in you, and I felt like [Barstool] did,” Ahlers added.

Ahlers told WITN Sports he’s already had some BWB orders come in from across the globe, including Ireland and South Korea.

ECU football kicks off its 2021 season against Appalachian State at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte on Thursday, Sept. 2nd.

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