Rutgers Basketball Star Cliff Omoruyi Joins 16 Handles

Cliff Omoruyi 16 Handles

NIL Deal is the First NCAA Partnership for Frozen Yogurt Franchise

16 Handles, a self-serve frozen dessert franchise, has added a star to its team: Cliff Omoruyi, the 6-foot-11-inch-tall standout center for Rutgers University’s Scarlet Knights men’s basketball team. Omoruyi has signed with 16 Handles under the name-image-likeness (NIL) agreements that are now allowed for amateur collegiate athletes under NCAA rules. 

Omoruyi and 16 Handles

Neil Hershman, CEO of 16 Handles, said he’s very pleased that Omoruyi is his company’s first NCAA partner. “We admire his success on and off the court with his leadership, academic discipline and community involvement,” Hershman stated in a news release. “This partnership is especially sweet given Cliff is the star center at Rutgers University — the home to 16 Handles’ first on-campus store location, and because it helps us to support community programs via the Salvation Army.”

Omoruyi, a junior at Rutgers University, led NCAA Division 1 in dunks last season and is set to be the focal point of the Scarlet Knights’ offense during the 2022-2023 season. His reputation for community service makes him an excellent partner and representative for the brand, the news release said. 

Omoruyi’s responsibilities for promoting the 16 Handles brand will include social media posts and helping to develop a signature sundae that will be served in 16 Handles shops. He also will make an appearance at the 16 Handles location on the Rutgers University campus this semester, where he will share his new signature sundae and interact with his fans. 

16 Handles Franchise Gives Back

This summer, Omoruyi volunteered as a counselor at the Books & Basketball program at the Salvation Army’s Newark West Side gym. That makes him an especially valued partner to 16 Handles. 

As part of its mission, 16 Handles gives back to communities where its shops are located; it works closely with community-service organizations both nationally and locally through fundraisers and other activities. 16 Handles will make a contribution to the Salvation Army as part of the company’s relationship with Omoruyi.

16 Handles Franchise History

Founded in 2008 as the first self-serve frozen dessert shop in New York City, the 16 Handles brand has locations throughout New Jersey, including one on Rutgers University’s Livingston Campus. The majority of the franchise’s two-dozen-plus locations are in New York State, but 16 Handles also has several additional sites in New Jersey, plus two in Connecticut and one in Florida. 

As 16 Handles has grown, the brand has developed a menu that still includes frozen yogurt but extends well beyond: ice cream, vegan soft serve, a large variety of toppings, beverages and more. 

Other Franchises with NIL Deals

The NCAA began allowing college athletes to license their names, images and likenesses on July 1, 2021. Many types of companies have been signing these athletes to assist in their public relations and advertising efforts. Two franchise brands made headlines with their NIL deals. College HUNKS Hauling Junk has a partnership deal with the University of Miami football team’s high-profile quarterback, D’ Eriq King. Nicole Webb, a standout on the North Carolina State University’s gymnastics team, has promoted Shuckin’ Shack. 

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Mary Vinnedge is an award-winning journalist who has served as editor in chief, managing editor and senior editor at national and regional publications, including SUCCESS and Design NJ magazines. She also held reporting and editing roles at The Dallas Morning News and Charlotte Observer newspapers.

Before Mary began covering franchise news and trends as a staff writer for FranchiseWire and Franchise Consultant Magazine, she developed articles on topics ranging from lifestyle, education, health and science to home projects, horticulture, gardening, interior design and architecture. These articles included her reporting on academic news at her alma mater, Texas A&M University, when Mary worked in the marketing department of the Texas A&M Foundation. She continues to be a news junkie and subscribes to several publications.

Today Mary and her husband are empty nesters living on Galveston Island near Houston. The couple’s blended family – scattered around the United States – includes five children, four grandchildren and two very spoiled, very barky miniature schnauzer rescues.
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