Student-athlete joins the “Metaverse”

Paige Shy playing defense in the 2023 Horizon League Tournament. Photo by Dylan Lux / The Jambar

By Dylan Lux

After being one of the top three Name, Image and Likeness earners in the Horizon League last season, fifth-year senior Paige Shy of the Youngstown State University women’s basketball team earned another deal with a major company.

Shy entered the deal with Meta Platforms, Inc. as a part of the NIL Empower 3.0 program. Shy announced her commitment to the company Aug. 31 on Instagram. 

According to Shy, at the NIL Summit, she was told to apply for the deal with the company, which Meta accepted shortly afterwards. Shy said she is excited about joining the program.

“My first thought was ‘This is crazy! This is Instagram and Facebook.’ I’m super excited,” Shy said.

Meta’s Empower 3.0 program is aimed toward helping female athletes maximize NIL opportunities and focus on life after being a student-athlete.

The Marshall University transfer said she likes the change of pace with Meta, as the company is athlete-oriented.

“I feel like most of my other deals are for the brand, but this deal is moreso of … helping us figure out what we want to do, where we want to go,” Shy said. “They want to get us prepared for life after sports, which is super cool.”

The deal with Meta allows athletes to search for opportunities in their academic and athletic fields, and make connections inside and outside of sports.

“[We’re] connecting with people on LinkedIn, meeting with mentors [who are] putting us up for internships in our career interests,” Shy said. “[This is] all while meeting my friends that I now have through the deal, and making lifelong connections with the mentors they give us.”

Shy said the NIL deal is also helping athletes build their platform on social media.

“[We have] times to post reels and things like that … I used to just post on TikTok whenever I want, but now I have this outline to do with this trending sound, so it’s like a whole checklist,” Shy said.

Shy is one of 30 female athletes selected for the five-month program. Each athlete has mentors and NIL coaches to teach them what they’ll do with Meta. 

When introduced to the other athletes and coaches, Shy said the athletes and mentors bonded quickly.

“We all had to post on our social media, and tag [Meta’s Empower 3.0 program], and we all started following each other,” Shy said. “We’re like a family now for the next five months.”

Shy has secured NIL deals from multiple businesses such as Sam’s Wedge Inn and worldwide brands, such as Powerade and Dunkin Donuts.

Last season, all three top earners for NIL deals in the Horizon League were Youngstown State women’s basketball players, including Shy.

In her two seasons as a Penguin, Shy averaged 7.9 points per game, one steal per game, 2.2 assists per game and 4.4 rebounds per game.

In her first season, the fifth-year from Huntington, West Virginia, also led the team in three-pointers and shots per game.  

To keep up-to-date with Shy and the YSU women’s basketball team this upcoming season, visit