Carley Barjaktarovich with Lehigh teammates

As part of her NIL deal with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Carley Barjaktarovich promoted events, ticket sales and merchandise.

Carley Barjaktarovich Inks First Pro NIL Deal with Lehigh Valley IronPigs

The shortstop and team captain partnered with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies.

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Stephen Gross

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Courtesy of Lehigh Athletics

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Just over a week after the NCAA announced its NIL (name, image, likeness) policy changes, Lehigh softball player Carley Barjaktarovich ’22 became the first collegiate athlete to sign a NIL deal with a professional sports team, partnering with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Barjaktarovich, who was already an intern in the ticketing office of the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies, was approached by a team official shortly after the NCAA’s changes were announced. She said she immediately called her parents and spoke to her coach.

“We made sure to do everything through our compliance office to make sure that everything was within NCAA rules,” Barjaktarovich says, “because the last thing we wanted was to have eligibility issues from something like this that was just starting.”

Lehigh’s shortstop and team captain says her deal included promoting events, ticket sales and merchandise. The IronPigs also made a short video of Barjaktarovich for social media promoting women in sports.

She's the type of role model that you'd want [to represent your organization].

Joe Sterrett

One event Barjaktarovich assisted with was the IronPigs’ Softball Night, which included a pre-game home run derby with local youth softball players and in-game, on-field promotional events. She threw out a ceremonial first pitch before the game and was a guest on the team’s radio broadcast for an inning.

Joe Sterrett ’76, the Murray H. Goodman Dean of Athletics, said Barjaktarovich, who was the Patriot League’s Defensive Player of the Year, named to the All-Patriot League second team and earned the Patriot League Scholar Athlete of the Year award last season, is an ideal candidate to help the IronPigs promote their brand.

“She is a true scholar, terrific athlete and actively engaged in service and community,” Sterrett says. “She’s the type of role model that you’d want [to represent your organization]. And I think it’s great that somebody who has invested that much, to produce those kinds of outcomes in her life, is being recognized for it.”

Story by

Stephen Gross

Photography by

Courtesy of Lehigh Athletics

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