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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) – It’s a parallel between pit master and pigskin for Grant Pinkerton.

“I don’t believe there is a job closer than running a restaurant to being the head coach of a football team,” said Pinkerton.

Thanks to a monumental change in NCAA rules, Pinkerton can now help make decisions involving some of the best soccer players in the world, without leaving his day job.
He is the owner of Pinkerton’s BBQ.

In July, the NCAA ended its long-standing ban on student-athletes being paid for the use of their names, pictures and likenesses. This means college players of all sports can make money on sponsorship deals, including deals like that of Texas Longhorns star running back Bijan Robinson signed with Pinkerton’s BBQ.

RELATED: Governor Greg Abbott Signs Bill Allowing College Athletes to Benefit from Their Own Name and Likeness

“He loved what we were doing and we loved what he was doing,” Pinkerton said. “So really, it was a match made in heaven.”

We’re told the deal for Robinson to be powered by Pinkerton’s is worth five figures.

“We pay him. Think of him like any other spokesperson for the brand,” Pinkerton said. “We want him to be a brand ambassador for us. We stand at a very high standard here, and what we wanted was someone who stood at a very high standard on the pitch. on and off the pitch, Bijan is doing it to the best of his ability, and I think that’s a great representation of our brand. “

For Pinkerton’s and for Bijan, it’s a good fit, as is the cowboy hat hanging inside the restaurant that’s autographed by Longhorns legend and Houston icon Earl Campbell. Bijan says he spoke to Campbell about the endorsements.

“Just different business opportunities that he grabbed when he was in the NFL,” said Robinson. “And his experience offering deals, just like that.”

For more than two decades, this stuff has been Dusty Stanfield’s business. He is a sports marketing agent and founder of Inspiration Athlete Management.

His local business helped a local product cash in.

Manvel High School alumnus Eriq King, the former University of Houston quarterback who is now at the University of Miami, is a Stanfield client and has signed a handful of sponsorship deals. Dusty also works with Alabama quarterback Bryce Young – who ESPN says earned nearly $ 1 million before starting his first college game.

“A lot of these varsity athletes are really excited to learn the business side and how to interact and they have a lot of new, innovative and interesting ideas,” Stanfield said in an interview with ABC13. “If you are good at playing sports and have an audience that wants to see you do it, why not take advantage of it?”

For the first time ever, companies and brands can be associated with athletes before they turn pro while still on college ground. But the price won’t change – anyway – with what happens on the ground.

“These offers cannot be incentivized based on performance,” Stanfield noted. “No bonus in there for rushing 100 yards or anything.”

But Pinkerton is hoping to change his deal with Arizona native Bijan Robinson.

“We’re going to need him to come here and learn how to cook barbecue in Texas,” Grant said with a smile. “Because before you can be a full-fledged Texas kid, you have to be able to cook beef brisket. “

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