ASU women’s tennis senior Cali Jankowski is heading into the final stretch of her last year as a Sun Devil and is making the most of her opportunities on and off the court.
Jankowski is a fighter on the court and is the first and only player on the women’s tennis team to sign a Name Image and Likeness (NIL) deal that allows her to make money.
She signed a three-month deal with the Flip app through a connection she had to a friend who works for a company that facilitates NIL deals.
“As a girl, it’s great,” she said. “We should’ve always had the opportunities, so to be able to have it now is really awesome because a lot of college athletes have far more influence than they realize, so to be able to finally profit off that is really cool.”
Flip and Jankowski agreed to terms that the company would send her eight products of her choice a month to review and post. In return, Jankowski makes a commission off the number of views she gets, how many people sign up for the app or buy the product she reviewed.
While NIL deals were only approved on July 1, 2021, Jankowski was prepared when the opportunity came.
She wrote her thesis on NIL policies and implications for athletes. Jankowski completed her bachelor’s in sports business and is earning her master’s in digital audience strategy, hoping to work for a professional sports team or program.
For the first time in her career, Jankowski has had an established role in the Sun Devil lineup. During her freshman campaign, she missed the entire spring season due to a shoulder injury. In her sophomore and junior years, she competed in a combined 17 matches due to competitive playing time as part of a deep roster and more unfortunate injury luck.
“Now that she’s back in the lineup and healthy, she’s one of the best players. She’s really good,” head coach Sheila McInerney said.
After her ankle injury early in the season, sophomore Marianna Argyrokastriti called on Jankowski to replace Argykastriti’s number four spot in singles. Since then, Jankowski has gone 8-1 in her promotion di lei, riding a seven-match winning streak.
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“We’re all playing for each other. The opportunity to play four now has been really awesome,” Jankowski said. “Unfortunate circumstances how I moved up, but at the same time I’ve been able to take advantage of it and just play relaxed and just have fun and enjoy it.”
Last Friday, Jankowski had a comeback walk-off win after falling down 2-4 in the third set to take down No. 12 Cal, 4-3.
“She’s sick and she succeeded after she played a three-hour match,” sophomore Giulia Morlet said after the upset win over Cal.
Even though Argyrokastriti has returned from injury, Jankowski has proved herself at the four spot. McInerney said she still plans to make roster decisions one match at a time.
McInerney recognized that Jankowski has taken full advantage of the NCAA’s new policies and said she even started coaching tennis lessons for some extra change.
“It’s great and I think you’re going to see more of that,” McInerney said. “I think it’s fantastic for all the kids because Cali is a bright kid.”
But no matter where she finds herself in the lineup, Jankowski will take advantage of whatever comes her way in life.
“It’s my senior year, so I might as well have fun with it,” Jankowski said.
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