Lilly King wishes NCAA allowed NIL profits a little earlier

Lilly King became an Olympic gold medalist in the summer after her freshman year at Indiana. That made her a household name, especially in the state, but she couldn’t profit off of that at the time because of NCAA rules.

She’s now a graduated professional and heading to her second Olympics, having qualified in the 100-meter and 200-meter breastroke events with an opportunity to also swim in relays in Tokyo. She has her own endorsements now and has an opportunity to cash in even more with a strong performance, particularly another gold, in Tokyo.

However, she does see the NCAA’s move toward allowing student athletes to profit off of their name, image and likeness and wishes she had the same opportunity.

“I’m super excited for them,” King said in a Zoom press conference Friday run by Indiana athletics. “It’s a shame it came a few years too late. I turned down hundreds of thousands of dollars to continue to compete in the NCAA for this team (Indiana.) I’m very excited for those athletes, but I feel like I just missed the cutoff on that one.”

King won eight national championships at Indiana, finishing first in the 100 meter and 200 meter breastroke at the NCAA Championships in all four seasons.