The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

NIL partnership with WSU quarterback, local barbecue business is mutually beneficial

John Mateer enjoys relationship with Miss Huddy’s, feels like they have his back
Miss Huddy’s is a local barbecue business and serves food every other weekend. Their NIL deal with WSU quarterback John Mateer helps community members know when they are cooking and serving.

Name, image and likeness deals, around since July 2021, impact not only the athletes but the businesses involved as well. 

For a little over a year, WSU quarterback John Mateer has had an NIL deal with Miss Huddy’s, a local barbecue food cart near downtown Pullman. 

Miss Huddy’s co-owner Tim Schotzko said the business is a barbecue food cart he started with his wife eight years ago when they took a trip to Texas and were blown away by the barbecue and the style of cooking produced in the area. 

“We came home and it became a passion of trying to learn how to be creative, and it just kind of kept growing,” Schotzko said. “[Years later], we decided we wanted to start an actual business.”

Miss Huddy’s officially opened in December 2020, and while this was in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, it worked out because the business is a food cart, so customers were outside and social distancing, he said. 

Now, the business is on a model where they cook twice a month and spend an entire week prepping the meats and side, and will serve until they are sold out, Schotzko said. 

We do our best to cook a lot of food, and hope that we’ve promoted it enough to sell out,” he said. 

The NIL deal with John Mateer helps community members become aware of when Miss Huddy’s is cooking and selling their food, and it came about when Schotkzo and his wife were invited to a meet and greet with WSU athletes and other businesses.

Mateer said he came to WSU in the summer of 2022, and in the fall, he had taken an in-person class where Schotzko’s wife spoke to the class about marketing, and he stayed behind to talk to her. 

That was his first interaction with the Miss Huddy’s co-owner, and in the spring semester, there was a networking event, where Mateer said he was directed to Schotzko.  

Mateer walked up to Schotzko and said he wanted to have a relationship with the business, Schotzko said. They exchanged contact information, then started to get to know him. 

Schotzko said the relationship evolved into a situation where Mateer now posts on social media, including Instagram stories, promoting cooking days every other week, and he gets paid to do so. 

Having this relationship is beneficial because, being on the football team, Mateer has quite a bit of followers, and when he posts about Miss Huddy’s on his social media accounts, people who might not know about the business have the opportunity to learn about it, Schotzko said. 

Mateer said it seems as though he has a growing Instagram presence, so when he does make a post, more and more people are seeing who Miss Huddy’s is and what they do. 

“They’re just aware that they’re cooking or selling barbecue, and in a couple of interviews I’ve shouted them out,” he said. “Just getting their name out there to a bigger audience is what I’m doing for them.”

The NIL deal benefits the community as well; Schotzko said Pullman is such a small town and if sporting events do well, it helps the economy of the town and local businesses who have relationships with student athletes. 

Schotzko said this partnership is beneficial for each person involved, and an NIL deal would be a good idea for other businesses to look into because there are so many athletes who are happy to work with local businesses.

“You don’t have to be a car dealership or a great big business to have these partnerships,” he said. “I just hope that other businesses, big or small, look into these opportunities to work with student-athletes.”

Mateer said NIL deals were so new when he partnered with Miss Huddy’s, and neither of them knew much about how to go about it, but they were able to figure it out together. 

While being partners in the NIL world, they were able to build a personal relationship as well; Mateer said he was recently at their house to pick up some banana pudding and he stayed to talk for almost an hour. 

“They’re great people, it’s fun working with them because I try not to ask for too much, they don’t ask too much of me,” Mateer said. “It’s a good relationship. The money is nice, but I think it’s more fun being partners with somebody that appreciates you and really has your back.”

Nicholaus Garner, Student-Athlete Experience Assistant Athletic Director, said up until 2021, student-athletes were not able to profit off their NIL, including selling jerseys with their names on it or being involved in a video. 

Now, student-athletes are able to benefit from NIL while also being involved with and helping the community, he said. 

Garner said the partnership with Miss Huddy’s and Mateer is a great example of these benefits because Mateer is receiving money and free barbecue while Miss Huddy’s is gaining extra publicity as a growing business with someone who is growing a brand at WSU.

“For our student-athletes, it provides them with some different opportunities, whether they make some money or…just connect with neat businesses and grow their brand,” he said. “It’s been fun to see and we’re excited to see our student-athletes getting more and more engaged in it and grow those opportunities.”

Phil Weiler, WSU vice president for marketing and communications, said the partnership with Miss Huddy’s and Mateer is authentic, because sometimes he sees celebrities or people who are well-known online and he questions whether they actually use the product they are promoting.

“This is not State Farm Insurance partnering with a student-athlete,” he said. “This is a small local business that is going to benefit greatly from being able to take advantage of the number of followers that a well-known student-athlete has.”

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About the Contributor
Alexandria started working for the Evergreen in October 2020 as a news reporter and eventually hopped around to the roots/life, opinion and culture sections. She was a copy editor for three semesters beginning in January 2021 and was the Life editor in fall 2022. She was the copy chief for the summer and fall 2023 semesters, and is currently the editor-in-chief for the spring 2024 semester. She is from Tri-Cities, WA, and is always writing in her free time.