YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Name, image and likeness deals have generated millions of dollars for college athletes across the country over the last two years.
The Youngstown State women’s basketball team has landed a few of those NIL deals, including one that may lead senior guard Mady Aulbach toward a future in professional wrestling.
“I would love to say I’ve been a fan from day one, but I haven’t,” Aulbach said, jokingly. “My only experience with wrestling is with my two brothers.”
Aulbach may not have been born a fan of the WWE, but she is quickly becoming one. The Penguins’ two-time captain was 1 of 15 collegiate athletes from across the country selected to be part of the WWE’s “Next in Line,” a program designed to recruit and develop future wrestling superstars.
“I never thought this would be an opportunity coming to Youngstown to play basketball,” Aulbach said. “It’s just exciting to think about that kind of stuff.”
Aulbach never even tried out. She was contacted by direct message through Instagram, where she already has more than 13,000 followers.
While her commitment to YSU athletics prevents her from doing any physical training right now, it hasn’t slowed down her imagination.
“Of course, I have thought about the outfits and what I would get to call myself,” Aulbach joked. “A few people have suggested names to me, ‘The Pink Dream,’ because pink is my favorite color. ‘Mad Dog,’ because people will call me mad dog. I don’t know, things like that are just fun to think about.”
Aulbach graduated last May with a degree in marketing and sales, so building a fan base on social media can only help, especially if it means taking her talents to the top rope.
“It is a huge blessing. I’m super thankful and excited and I hope that it all works out to where I do get to do this and make some people proud or excited, or maybe make someone a fan of me that does love the WWE,” Aulbach said. “I definitely don’t want to take it for granted.”