Cruise With the Cougs: BYU stars sailing to paradise through new NIL deal

On3 imageby:Jeremy Crabtree02/09/23


CougConnect, a BYU-focused collective, has turned heads with its creative NIL deals since its inception in November 2021.

People in Provo are still talking about “Rocking Royal,” the NIL-inspired hype track for Cougar fans that came from a deal facilitated by CougConnect. Plus, CougConnect helped BYU football players strike teamwide apparel deals at the start of the football season.

Now CougConnect is back with its most inspired deal to date.

CougConnect announced Thursday it’s going “Cruising With the Cougs” as part of its new NIL deal with football players Masen Wake, Max Tooley, Miles Davis and Keanu Hill.

In what is believed to be the first-ever NIL cruise, BYU fans – and CougConnect subscribers – have a chance to go on a four-day Carnival Cruise out of Long Beach, California, to Ensenada, Mexico from April 28-May 1. As part of the $350 player package for three people, fans get two to three dinners with different players and minigolf with the players. A swag bag including BYU gear from Banter and CougConnect swag is also available for the first 10 groups that purchase the player package. Fans will also have access to interviews conducted by the BYU-focused Hype Train Podcast.

BYU players created ‘Cruising With the Cougs’ idea

CougConnect Director Jake Brandon said there would also be times when the group will meet up with the players for lunch or a movie. “Cruising With the Cougs” is sponsored by Banter, Pacific Horizon Credit Union and the Hype Train Podcast.

Masen Wake is the BYU fullback that’s famous for hurdling defenders. Despite a season-ending injury, Max Tooley finished as BYU’s fourth-leading tackler in 2022 and tied for the lead in interceptions. Miles Davis was the fourth-leading rusher for BYU in 2022. Keanu Hill is the Cougars’ best deep threat at receiver with 572 yards, seven touchdowns and a 15.9-yard average in 2022.

“We knew it would be a NIL first and likely get attention,” Brandon said. “That’s how we got those sponsors on board. The four players are very excited about the trip.”

Who wouldn’t be? A cruise to California during spring break sounds like a huge NIL win for Wake, Tooley, Davis and Hill. But it’s also a huge win because of the buy-in from the players.

“Masen Wake came up with this idea a while ago, and we finally were able to get it all out together,” Brandon said. “We’re hoping some travel industry members take note and reach out to us and sponsor more of these.

“Players come up with the majority of our deals, or we bring them deals we think will suit their interests. Like the hype track we did, it was very, very player driven. Their idea. They made the beats and wrote the lyrics. We booked the studio and released it. We focus on current players and try to find unique ways to support them with their interests.”

You can find out more details about “Cruising With the Cougs” and reserve the trip at

“Literally no one else is doing this,” Hype Train Podcast host Joe Wheat said on social media. “You get a cruise, a chance to get to know some awesome players and help put money in their pocket. Seriously, sign up. It’s going to be awesome.”