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Desi-Rae Young

Steve Marcus

Desi-Rae Young, center, celebrates with the team after UNLV defeated Wyoming, 71-60, to win the Mountain West tournament championship at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 8.

The UNLV women’s basketball team is getting paid.

The first name, image and likeness deal for the back-to-back Mountain West champs was announced on Thursday, via the Friends of UNILV collective. No terms were made available, but every player on the team will receive some form of monthly payment.

It’s a welcome development for the women’s squad, two years after the NCAA passed its landmark NIL rule making it legal for athletes to profit off their sports endeavors.

Since then, the Friends of UNILV organization has focused on raising funds to pay enough players to keep UNLV teams competitive. Bill Paulos, the chairman of the Friends of UNILV, estimated the organization will pay out $1.5 million to UNLV athletes this year, but most of that money is earmarked for men’s basketball and football, leaving lesser-revenue sports in a tight bind.

As of two weeks ago, women’s basketball star Desi-Rae Young reported receiving little NIL interest, and the team had set up a page on NILclub.com, a website that allows college programs to solicit small donations from fans.

UNLV head coach Lindy La Rocque, who has taken the women’s basketball team to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last two seasons, was happy to see that her players are now being rewarded.

“We know it takes a lot of people working together to make NIL happen,” La Rocque said via a statement, “and we are grateful for the support of our alumni to ensure our players are successful on and off the court.”

Mike Grimala can be reached at 702-948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Mike on Twitter at twitter.com/mikegrimala.

Article written by #LasVegasSun

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