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Auburn gymnast Suni Lee announces 2022-23 will be final collegiate season

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos11/15/22


Suni Lee has officially announced when her collegiate career will come to a close.

The Auburn gymnast announced Tuesday in a video posted to her social media channels that she plans to focus on her Olympic dreams following this season. With the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris approaching, Lee plans to leave school and start preparing for the run-up. The site and date of Team USA’s 2024 gymnastics trials have not yet been announced.

Prior to arriving at Auburn for the 2022 season, Lee was a seven-time U.S. National Team member. The gold medalist went on to have the most decorated year in Auburn gymnastics history in her first season, capturing eight All-America honors, one national championship, an SEC title and being named the SEC Freshman of the Year. 

“I’ve been fortunate enough to experience that once-in-a-lifetime feeling and the indescribable emotion when a gold medal is placed around your neck,” Suni Lee said in her taped statement. “But I don’t want it to be once-in-a-lifetime. Competing for Auburn University has always been a dream of mine. And a dream that rose in tandem with going to the Olympics.

“… With that being said, this will be my last season competing at Auburn University. My focus right now is to make it the most incredible season yet and to be the best teammate I can be… I’m so excited to share after this season, I’ll be returning to elite gymnastics. I have my sight sets on Paris in 2024, and I know what I have to do to get there.”

The Auburn gymnastics season is set to open the season with a preview on Dec. 16 followed by Arkansas visiting Neville Arena on Jan. 20.

Suni Lee’s impact on NIL

One of the faces of the NIL era, the sophomore at Auburn has 3.5 million social media followers. But if not for Name, Image and Likeness laws and a change to the NCAA’s policy, there’s a strong possibility Suni Lee never would have competed at Auburn. The NCAA’s move in the summer of 2021 allowed her to turn her Olympic success into NIL dollars.

Lee filled up SEC gyms last year and she signed endorsement deals with with Amazon, Gatorade, Target and Invisalign. Most recently, she inked a deal with CLIF Bar. As part of the deal, CLIF is committing funds to the VIS Advocacy Program to assist in establishing 20 advocacy chapters and another 20 Title IX trainings on school campuses across the country.

Each VIS chapter will also receive formal Title IX training to evaluate their schools compliance with the federal civil rights law.

Massive On3 NIL Valuation

Suni Lee has a $1.5 million On3 NIL Valuation, which ranks No. 9 in the NIL 100. The rankings is the first of its kind and defacto NIL ranking of the top 100 high school and college athletes ranked by their On3 NIL Valuation

She’s also the No. 2 in gymnastics and the Women’s NIL 100, sitting behind LSU gymnast Olivia Dunne.

The On3 NIL Valuation is the industry’s leading index that sets the projected annual value for high school and college athletes. A proprietary algorithm, the On3 NIL Valuation calculates an athlete’s NIL value using dynamic data points targeting three primary categories: performance, influence and exposure.

While the algorithm includes deal data, it does not act as a tracker of the value of NIL deals athletes have completed to date, nor does it set an athlete’s NIL valuation for their entire career. The On3 NIL Valuation calculates the optimized NIL opportunity for athletes relative to the overall NIL market and projects out to as long as 12 months into the future.