Syracuse Orange: Get ready to start collecting ‘Cuse trading cards, NFTs!

Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images)
Syracuse basketball (Photo by Rich Barnes/Getty Images) /

As kids, my twin brother Dan and I loved to collect baseball trading cards and cards from other sports, and I may have to rekindle that childhood passion in the future as it pertains to my alma mater, the Syracuse Orange.

With name, image and likeness at the forefront of collegiate athletics these days, two recent developments surrounding the ‘Cuse certainly point to SU Athletics looking to make a bigger push into the lucrative NIL marketplace.

"Not too long ago, Fanatics Collectibles and Topps announced via a press release that, later this year, “Topps will kick off a scaled, non-exclusive program to design, manufacture and distribute trading cards showcasing current college football and basketball student-athletes” for more than 100 schools nationwide, including the Syracuse Orange."

How freaking cool is that? I’m really curious to see, over time, which ‘Cuse football and basketball players’ trading cards prove the most popular among Syracuse Orange fans. If I had to venture an initial guess, I’d go with Syracuse basketball rising sophomore forward Benny Williams and ‘Cuse star running back Sean Tucker.

It wasn’t clear to me from that recent announcement whether the trading cards will include the ‘Cuse women’s hoops program, but I sincerely hope that it does.

The Syracuse Orange has also delved into NFTs.

The SU Athletics department recently issued a media statement via in which it revealed a multi-year partnership with Fantastec SWAP.

That deal, which the ‘Cuse says was the first in the NCAA, provides for the “creation of non-fungible tokens (NFTs), or digital collectibles, that feature the student-athlete’s likeness and Syracuse marks and logos.”

Per, a “season preview collection” made its debut on June 23, with additional NFTs being made available throughout the 2022-23 season. These NFTs can get collected, swapped and sold by fans around the world, which is awesome.

SU Athletics said that any or all of the 600-plus Syracuse Orange student-athletes who have signed up for the 2022-23 campaign may have their own NFTs as part of the official ‘Cuse collection.

I recognize that the two biggest sports for major colleges and universities like Syracuse are men’s basketball and football, however, I believe it’s vital for SU leaders to ensure that student-athletes in other sports have vibrant NIL opportunities made available to them as well.

As it relates to NIL, at least so far in its infancy, the Syracuse Orange isn’t garnering the big headlines with huge deals reportedly underway at other schools, but the ‘Cuse isn’t sitting on the sidelines, either.

The NFTs are a part of SU Athletics’ ACCELERATE program, which also includes a student-athlete business registry called the INFLCR Exchange.

Additionally, the Brandr Group co-licensing program allows Syracuse Orange student-athletes to grow their personal brands and profit from their names, images and likenesses through licensing and marketing programs co-branded with Syracuse University’s logos and marks.

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