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Some of WWE’s top stars, including the current RAW Women’s Champion, Bianca Belair, and The Undisputed Universal Champion, Roman Reigns, were successful college athletes in their own respective sports of track and field and football. Clearly, WWE would like to continue that pipeline between college athletes and WWE Superstars as the company has just announced its first-ever college recruitment tour, “Campus Rush.”
After a polarizing but historic policy change in July 2021, the NCAA now allows college athletes to make money off of sponsorships from their name and likeness. WWE was quick to hop on the bandwagon, forming a program called “Next In Line” just a few months later. Since the debut of the program, WWE has signed 25 college athletes to developmental contracts once they graduate from school, three of whom are already training full-time at the WWE Performance Center.
For WWE’s Campus Rush tour, recruiters will stop at eight universities from five different conferences, and then will do it all over again in Spring 2023 with a new set of schools. WWE announced the current schedule as follows:
● University of Mississippi – Today, Oct. 12
● Georgia Tech University – Thursday, Oct. 13
● Clemson University – Tuesday, Oct. 25
● Boise State University – Tuesday, Nov. 8
● University of Arkansas – Wednesday, Nov. 9
● Ohio State University – Tuesday, Nov. 15
● University of Kansas – Tuesday, Dec. 6
● Penn State University – Wednesday, Dec. 7
Come Spring 2023, WWE will visit the University of Florida, University of Michigan, Michigan State University, University of North Carolina, Texas A&M University, University of Oklahoma, Auburn University, University of Illinois, and Northwestern University, although no exact dates have been confirmed.
According to an official statement released by WWE, “WWE Superstars such as Big E, Bianca Belair, Omos, Madcap Moss and Raquel Rodriguez, all of whom have transitioned from college athletics to a career in WWE, will address student athletes at each tour stop and educate them about the global leader in sports entertainment. In conjunction with each university, student athletes will learn about WWE’s “Next In Line” (NIL) program and the resources that they can utilize including brand building, social media, fan engagement, media training and more. Each stop of the tour will include a lively competition that features student athletes facing off on the microphone to cut the best WWE-style promo.”
WWE claims to have already hosted more than “100 college athletes from more than a dozen different sports at multi-day talent tryouts in 2022.” The company signed almost half of those athletes to NIL deals with the opportunity for a WWE developmental contract upon completion of the program. Other famous WWE stars who participated in college athletics include Brock Lesnar, Dolph Ziggler, Titus O’Neil, and Goldberg.
You can catch up on all things WWE Universe on Peacock.
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