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.