September 21, 2023

Iowa Hawkeyes # 55 Luka Garza passes Asbjørn Midtgaard # 33 of Grand Canyon Lopes in the first round of the NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament 2021 at the Indiana Farmers Coliseum on March 20, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Trevor Brown Jr | NCAA Photos | Getty Images

In addition to owning the digital token, which contains several images of Garza, the highest bidder on his NFT will receive signed shoes from the game in which he set the program record for most points in a career.

The NFT buyer can also play a game of HORSE against Garza and go to dinner and a meditation session with him. He said he relied on meditation throughout his accomplished career in Iowa.

“I think that was something cool for … whoever was going to win the NFT to see what includes me, what makes me succeed at the highest level,” said Garza, suggesting the experiential aspect of his digital collectible it is different from any other “picture or work of art”.

Portion of the sale will be donated to the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital. “So it’s for a good cause too,” said Garza.

Garza’s announcement came not long after his four-year college career ended in the second round of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament. It means he is now free to accept compensation for his athletic success without breaking NCAA rules and jeopardizing eligibility.

There has been significant effort in recent years to allow NCAA athletes to benefit from their name, image, and likeness known as the NIL. The NCAA postponed a vote on the compensation rules earlier this year. However, some states have already passed their own NIL laws, and some proposals have been made at the federal level.

The US Supreme Court also recently tried a case regarding educational compensation for NCAA athletes.

Garza, a business major, said he was grateful for the NCAA and the opportunity to receive a scholarship to do basketball and education at the same time. Even so, he praised those who are pushing for NIL rights to be expanded, such as his Iowa teammate Jordan Bohannon.

“I stand with the changing times and I think … this could pave the way for college athletes in the future to do so and make money on their name, image and likeness with something like an NFT” Garza told CNBC.