Hayden Wolff has been building his brand since he first started throwing a football around at the park in Englewood at 5 years old.
As a child, Wolff would often return home from PopWarner practice with far fewer footballs than when he left, and his father grew tired of replacing them, prompting the two to create a logo together.
Now a quarterback at Old Dominion University, Wolff is planning on trademarking that logo and using it to promote himself, thanks to the NCAA’s July 1 announcement that student-athletes can now profit off their name and likeness.
“I’ve done a couple of research papers on it in college. I think it will give us an opportunity to start promoting ourselves and our brand for the future,” said the former Venice High quarterback. “Some day, obviously, everyone is going to be out of football. I think starting now is only going to help us later down the road.”
Wolff has made a conscious effort to associate himself with his logo — using it on his footballs, back packs and autographs.
“It’s been the same logo I’ve used since I was 5 or 6,” he said. “I’m working on getting that professionally done, and then I’ll start up my brand.
“So right now I’m working on getting it designed and then getting it trademarked. I talked with a lawyer on the phone last week because I want to protect myself legally.”
While Hayden has been thinking of bigger-picture ideas for how he wants to take advantage of the NCAA’s new freedoms, his younger brother, Weston — a freshman tight end at the University of Maryland — didn’t waste any time cashing in.
“I think it’s a great opportunity,” said Weston, who tweeted out an endorsement of the food delivery service “Gopuff” for what he said was a one-time payment of $30. “With me just getting started in my college career, I’m probably not gonna get any huge deals or anything yet.
“I’m hoping one day I can build a relationship with a bigger company, once I get a role where I’m more widely known and have a bigger influence.”
There are some stipulations, however.
Athletes are prohibited from promoting anything involving alcohol, drugs, tobacco, violence, gambling or other adult entertainment, along with anything else the university deems inappropriate. No school logos or branding is allowed to be used, either, and student-athletes are prohibited from missing class, practice or a game for a sponsorship opportunity.
Weston was one of many NCAA athletes to make a post for Gopuff after the company sent out hundreds of sponsorship requests to athletes across the country.
Gopuff and other companies seeking sponsorship from collegiate athletes can reach out to them personally or through in-house applications run by each university.
When it comes to Weston, all he had to do was set up a profile on an app called “Open Doors” and his offer came through.
“You make an account and upload a bunch of information about yourself. Business can go on there, find athletes and offer them money for sponsored posts to Instagram or Twitter.
“This has been the first deal I’ve done and a lot of my teammates have done it, too.”
Hayden has received some smaller offers as well — $20 to $30 for a social media post — but is shooting for deals with bigger or localized brands while also expanding his work as a quarterback coach.
Since graduating from Venice High in 2019, Wolff has hosted small football camps for kids in the Venice and Englewood area as an employee of Nomad’s Elite Personal Training.
Now, the Monarch redshirt freshman can host camps while using his name and likeness to promote it — whether that be in southwest Florida or Virginia Beach.
“Now I’ll be able to advertise it as “Come train with Division-I athlete Hayden Wolff from the Englewood-Venice area,” he said. “I think that’ll take off. That should be successful because there hasn’t been too many athletes from that area to go D-I.
“I think if I partner with my brother we can even expand it in the area, too.”