Lehigh scholar athlete is first in US to link endorsement with a pro sports team

Written by on July 15, 2021

Lehigh scholar athlete is first in US to link endorsement with a pro sports team

By Ben Stemrich

July 15, 2021

Carley Barjaktarovich at bat. Photo | Courtesy of Lehigh Athletics

It’s not just athletes from big schools taking advantage of the new laws allowing them to profit from the use of their name, image and likeness. 

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The Lehigh Valley IronPigs is the first professional sports team to sign an endorsement deal with a college athlete. 

Carley Barjaktarovich is a shortstop on Lehigh University’s softball team, talks about her deal with the baseball organization.

“Being able to bring softball a little bit into the baseball world, they’re pretty similar, and just being able to be a good face and a positive image for the family here,” Barjaktarovich says. 

NCAA rule changes and new state laws are allowing college athletes to now profit from their name.

“I wasn’t expecting anything like this to happen, so it was kind of a shock to me so I could see a lot of other athletes from around the country not only from big schools but mid-level athletes are going to be able to benefit from this, Barjaktarovich says. 

Mike Ventola, the IronPigs’ media relations manager, says she was the perfect fit.

“Not only is it what she can do on the field but all the accolades over her career with Lehigh University. But more importantly, she’s an A+ student, she is a scholar-athlete being recognized by Lehigh and the Patriot League as well. And she’s been an outstanding ticket sales associate for us,” Ventola says.

As part of the endorsement, Barjaktarovich will play a major role in the team’s “Softball Night” on July 22.

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