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Eyes on Texas: Taking care of Mama, DeMarvion Overshown keeps making smart NIL choices

Having used his NIL money to buy his mother a car, Overshown said she was overjoyed. ‘My mom's a crier. So she definitely cried.’

Count me among those who are glad college athletes are now getting paid for their name, image and likeness. Long, long overdue. 

Some companies have overpaid or bet on the wrong horse, so to speak. Others are probably getting incredible bang for their buck. Such is the beauty of the free market sorting itself out.

Texas linebacker DeMarvion Overshown has been on the cutting edge of all things NIL. He was one of UT’s first to dive into T-shirt sales. He quickly got a hat design that included UT’s logo when group licensing went into effect. Agent Zero armbands and jerseys can’t be that far off.

“It was hard, especially at the beginning,” Overshown said. “It was just like Russian roulette. Either you can do this and you get in trouble for it, or you do it and hopefully nothing happens.”

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Linebacker DeMarvion Overshown has been one of the most active Longhorns in taking advantage of name, image and likeness deals. He used his earnings to buy his mother back home in Arp a new car. "Take care of Mama," he said. "No matter what, I'm going to take care of my Mama."

Overshown’s latest NIL decision tops them all. Instead of keeping his NIL money for himself, he used it to get his mother, Felecia, a new car — a sleek, black Dodge Challenger.

Most athletes dream about taking care of their family, especially Mom, when they reach the NFL. Through NIL, they can do it now.

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DeMarvion Overshown used his NIL money to buy a new Dodge Challenger for his mom, Felecia. “I've seen her sacrifice so much for me and my 21 years being on this earth, sacrifice so much for me and my siblings,” he said.

“My mom's a crier. So she definitely cried,” Overshown said. “She's told me thank you so many times, but she knows how I feel about her, and that’s how I was raised. Take care of Mama. No matter what, I'm going to take care of my Mama. 

“I've seen her sacrifice so much for me and my 21 years being on this earth, sacrifice so much for me and my siblings,” he added. “It just feels good to be able to give a little back to her. I know it's not near what she's done for me, but I'm just glad I was able to do something for her.”

Overshown will do anything for his family. During the pandemic stoppage, he was one of the last Texas athletes to return to campus when the facilities reopened. Overshown was back home in Arp working at Brookshire’s grocery store in nearby Overton.

“Just back home helping Mom and helping the family,” he said.

Overshown is exactly the type of athlete that NIL should help. Here’s someone with modest family means and with a team-high 25 tackles for one of the richest athletic programs in America. Overshown is likely to be a huge reason for whatever Texas (2-1) does in Big 12 play, which will start Saturday against Texas Tech (3-0).

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For decades, athletes came to Texas, shined like superstars and never earned a dime — while regular students could make as much money as possible off their own talents. Not anymore, though.

“First, I can just say I'm blessed,” Overshown said. “I was given the opportunity to play this wonderful sport at a young age. And growing older, I saw it: This was my ticket. This is the way I was going to help Mom. This is the way I was going to help my sisters and my brother. I took it and ran with it, and I never looked back.”

The rules are still crazy. Get this: Texas coach Steve Sarkisian is not allowed to praise or compliment an athlete publicly on his or her NIL deal. That could be viewed as an “endorsement” of an NIL deal, and schools are not allowed to steer athletes toward or away from NIL opportunities.

For example, Sarkisian cannot say, “Yeah, DeMarvion worked a great deal with Company X.” Or, “I saw that Bijan Robinson has a deal with this clothing company. That’s pretty cool.”

DeMarvion Overshown tackles Rice quarterback Luke McCaffrey during last week's 58-0 win at Royal-Memorial Stadium. Through three games, Overshown is leading the team with 25 tackles.

To put it in Mack Brown parlance, “What a neat deal.” Even he would get slapped on the wrist by compliance for that today. 

So what did Sarkisian actually say about Overshown’s NIL decisions?

“Big picture, I think all of our guys have done a really good job with NIL,” Sarkisian said. “And I think the university has done a really good job of putting things in place to educate our guys on how this NIL works. I think they've handled it well. I don't think they've been distracted by it.”

Of course, Sark can talk all day about Overshown the player. “I think D-Mo is playing really good football for us,” he said.

Texas officials can only guide players through the NIL process. Multiple players have acquired cars since NIL began, according to a UT source. Some have signed lease agreements on the notion that they’re going to go pro and keep making the payments. 

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What athletes can do and what they should do might be two totally different things. It’s part of the learning curve.

“The thing I’ve learned is you just can’t accept everything,” Robinson said. “For me, I’ve got about six or seven (deals) myself, but I know how to manage it. I have people that help me out. It’s a lot to manage with that kind of stuff.”

Asked how much time he personally spends on NIL issues each week, Robinson said, “Not much time at all.”

“This beer company wanted me to represent them and be on their campaign,” Robinson said. “I don’t drink, so it just wouldn’t work with me.”

NIL issues must not be going so well at other places. TCU coach Gary Patterson stood before a room full of boosters earlier this month and put it rather bluntly. Horned Frogs backers are going to have to start paying their favorite players to keep up.

“Everybody in this room lives in the gray area,” Patterson said on Sept. 16, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “The bottom line to it is we’re going to have to live in the gray area if we want to keep up.”

This is all recruiting driven. Patterson told the room that “I have a chance to lose 25, 30 guys. That’s as plain and simple as I can speak of it.”

TCU coach Gary Patterson, seen here on Big 12 media day in July, told a room full of boosters this month that he could lose 25 to 30 recruits to other schools because of name, image and likeness opportunities.

TCU athletic director Jeremiah Donati also told the Star-Telegram: “That’s just the stone cold hard truth of big-time college athletics now. Something that was prohibited is now encouraged. It’s a seismic change for everyone in our business.”

It’s amazing how the dynamics have flipped. Oh, sure, there are still random folks out in the Internet wilderness shouting “amateurism.” But my guess is the overwhelming college football populace is happy for the players.

Players can now profit off their talents. Granted, it’s not NFL money, but it’s something. They can use that money to take care of their families. Overshown won’t — and shouldn’t — apologize for helping his mother. Neither should anyone else on that field in burnt orange.

Coaches are the ones worried about the long-term ramifications. Correctly, I would add. That group probably won’t get much sympathy.

The players are going to get all they can while they can.

“Basically, coming from where I come from, I used it as a chip on my shoulder because not too many people get this opportunity,” Overshown said. “So I’m going to take full advantage of it.”

Contact Brian Davis by phone or text at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com or @BDavisAAS.

Saturday's game

Texas Tech at Texas, 11 a.m., ABC, 104.9