Johnny Walker is no stranger to breaking records. Walker holds the ASU Hockey records for most goals and points scored in a career, but the electrifying right winger broke a very different type of record Saturday, when he became the first NCAA athlete to partner with Barstool Sports.
Walker’s deal with Barstool, which was announced by the New York-based media conglomerate on Twitter, comes on the heels of the NCAA’s decision to allow student-athletes to profit from their names, images and likenesses. The new rules took effect Jul. 1, and several high-profile college athletes, most of them football players, have already cashed in on lucrative deals.
Walker’s relationship with Barstool dates back to 2018, when he and former ASU center Tyler Busch appeared on “Spittin’ Chiclets”, a podcast hosted by ex-NHLers Ryan Whitney and Paul Bissonnette. Following the NCAA’s announcement Thursday, Barstool’s Mike Grinnell reached out to Walker about the possibility of signing with the company, which he hastily accepted. The terms of the deal have not been announced.
Barstool has been proactive in supporting hockey-related causes in the past, and its decision to partner with Walker could be indicative of a larger plan to promote the game at the college level. While Walker can rightfully stake his claim as the first Barstool athlete, he likely won’t be the last.