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Details of UC guard Jeremiah Davenport's NIL brand ambassador deal with The Job Center

Keith Jenkins
Cincinnati Enquirer

When six University of Cincinnati men's basketball players entered the transfer portal at the end of last season, and John Brannen was subsequently fired from his post as head coach of the program after two seasons, Jeremiah Davenport could've jumped ship.

He didn't.

Even after the death of his father, Darren, in April, the 6-foot-7 junior guard, Cincinnati native and former Moeller High School standout vowed to stay at UC, outwardly expressing his love for and dedication to the university, the program and the city.

Kyle Decker, CEO and co-owner of The Job Center staffing agency, took notice of Davenport's commitment.

"We always talk about three things at The Job Center, and that's gratitude, selflessness and high expectations," Decker told The Enquirer on Monday. "We felt Jeremiah perfectly exhibits all of those things. A lot of guys hit the portal, and he was one guy who did not. He was committed to the city. We feel like that loyalty and commitment is something we look at from a brand, ourselves, and the employees and people we staff, being a staffing company. Our gratitude to Jeremiah during times of adversity. He was target No. 1 for us."

Decker and The Job Center announced Friday they have signed Davenport to a brand ambassador deal, taking advantage of the NCAA Board of Directors suspending the NCAA's antiquated rules prohibiting student-athletes from profiting off of their name, image and likeness.

"As a former student-athlete, I know how hard it is," said Decker, a Granville, Ohio, native who played football at Miami University. "To have the opportunity to help these student-athletes, to me, it was a no-brainer."

The University of Cincinnati declined to grant The Enquirer an interview with Davenport for this story, citing the need to continue to work on its "own internal NIL policy, particularly with full athlete education."

More:UC unveils plan as Ohio inches closer to allowing college athletes to profit off likeness

The Job Center specializes in light industrial staffing in warehouses and other general labor positions. It has 22 locations across nine states, including nine locations in Ohio and eight more in Kentucky and Indiana.

Davenport's contract with the company is a one-year deal worth a minimum of $3,000, Decker said. Davenport will be expected to devote 20-30 hours of his time to the company over the duration of the contract. The company will be flexible to Davenport's demands both in the classroom and on the court, Decker said.

Davenport or the company can choose to vacate the contract at any time. Davenport could earn as much as $15,000-$20,000 over the duration of his contract, Decker said.

Cincinnati Bearcats guard Jeremiah Davenport (24) reacts after scoring on a 3-point basket in the first half of a men's NCAA basketball game against the Tulane Green Wave, Friday, Feb. 26, 2021, at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati.

"No matter what he does, he's going to get $3,000," Decker said. "He gets $1,000 per internal hire. So if he helps us hire someone on campus and they're with us for basically three months, we give him $1,000.

"We're hoping his branding on campus is really going to help us attract UC students, people who are coming out of school that want to be a part of a growing company. That's one thing that we have not done well in my 12 years is recruit college campuses."

Davenport, who averaged 11.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 assists last season en route to being the only UC player to earn a spot on the American Athletic Conference All-Tournament team, will receive a direct deposit once a month that could also include bonuses if Davenport's social media posts reach targeted levels of engagement.

More:Jeremiah Davenport: The Cincinnati Bearcats' human spark plug in an unconventional season

"If he gets a lot of engagement, that helps grow our brand," Decker said. "We'll give him bonuses from up to $500 per post if it hits 2,000 likes on some platforms and 1,000 likes on another platform."

Cincinnati Bearcats guard Jeremiah Davenport (24) rises for a shot in the second half of an NCAA men's college basketball game against the Temple Owls, Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati. The Cincinnati Bearcats won, 71-69.

Davenport has more than 3,600 followers on Twitter and more than 8,400 followers on Instagram. His quote tweet of the company's announcement of the brand ambassador deal garnered more than 30 retweets and 300 likes on Twitter. His post on Instagram earned more than 1,400 likes as of Monday afternoon.

More:Sprinter Caisja Chandler becomes first UC student-athlete to pocket NIL endorsement

Davenport is just the first UC student-athlete The Job Center has signed to a brand ambassador deal. Decker said the company is also looking to add more men's and women's athletes, including UC women's basketball sophomore guard and former Loveland High School standout Jillian Hayes.

"There will be similar pay for both male and female (student-athletes)," Decker said. "Diversity and inclusion is what we're about because we have so much diversity on our staff."

'Bearcat Air'

In addition to helping UC student-athletes generate income, Decker and his business partner and father-in-law, Todd Riley, are helping Cincinnati spread its wings in recruiting.

Decker has started working with administration within the UC athletic department to develop Bearcat Air. The program, which will be spearheaded by a fundraising effort, will allow UC athletics to create a budget for all of its programs to use a private plane whenever needed.

Riley, who is part owner of a plane, recently lent the plane to first-year Bearcats men's basketball coach Wes Miller. The 38-year-old coach caused a stir on social media when he posted a picture of himself by the plane after a recent recruiting trip.

"Wes Miller had like 36 hours to go and see 5-10 kids he wanted to see within five different cities on the East Coast," Decker said. "So what he had said was that any usage of a private plane is really important at times. No overusage there, but hey, it's really important to get to these players to see them and talk to them."

Decker said its important to lend a hand to both UC and its student-athletes during a time when many are hurting financially.

"Obviously, UC, budget-wise, with COVID and all those different things, funds for traveling, there's not a ton of it. So it's just trying to help them when they need it so they can go out and get the best players. ... The goal is this fall, renting a hangar down at Lunken and have it inside. We're pretty close."