Oregon athletes are finding a creative way to make money: renting out housing

When the World Track and Field Championships made their first U.S. appearance at Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore., this month, some University of Oregon athletes decided to get creative with their fame and lack of abundant housing in this quaint college town.

Six Oregon athletes — Micah Williams, Ty Hampton, Elliott Cook, Jasmine Montgomery, Jadyn Mays and Jaida Ross — are partnering with Division Street, a sports venture company founded by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, to make money. A house that transforms into an athletics-themed paradise.

The home and partnership is one of many examples of how the college sports landscape has changed since the NCAA announced last year that college athletes could profit from their fame.

The property, nicknamed the “Oregon House,” began as a fan center for Oregon linebacker Noah Sewell last October. The interior featured many Sewell jerseys and Oregon football memorabilia, and the home was marketed as the “No. 1 Place to Stay in Eugene.” (Yes, Sewell’s jersey is number 1, you get it).

The house was then redecorated with an Oregon women’s basketball theme, with the winnings going to several of the team’s players. In May, ahead of the NCAA track and field championships and the USA track and field championships, both held at Hayward Field, the home was renovated again to feature framed Oregon and USA track and field uniforms. There are Galen Rupp and English Gardner jerseys in the living room, and pictures of Ashton Eaton, Ravin Rodgers and other Oregon greats line the walls and hallways.

This is a good deal for student-athletes. “We don’t even have to do anything,” said Williams, a junior sprinter. Athletes are paid to promote the house on their social media and share 100 percent of the winnings.

Williams, a former NCAA 60-meter champion and a member of last summer’s U.S. Olympic team, is already one of the best sprinters in the history of the Oregon track and field program. His 100m time of 9.86 seconds is the sixth fastest time in the world this year and equals Fred Curley’s 100m time at this year’s World Championships.

But Williams is not at the World Championships on his home track this year. Finished fourth in the 100 meters at the U.S. Championships last month, one spot away from qualifying for the team. Williams said she was offered a spot on the team as part of the 4×100-meter relay pool she was part of at the Tokyo Olympics, but she turned it down to rest after a long college season that began last September. .

“I definitely could have competed in the relay,” Williams said, “but I was just physically tired and I thought it would be good to close it and give my body and mind a break.”

Williams could easily leave Oregon to turn pro and sign with a major sports brand; He earns significantly more than the average professional who can earn $5,000 a year. But the money he made through his Oregon home and other opportunities after the NCAA decision took the pressure off him to turn pro, he said.

“I like that I can stay in school and go to college and make money,” Williams said. She hopes to pursue a degree in journalism and communications with a focus on advertising.

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