Kids look up to athletes as heroes. Redshirt freshman quarterback Colten Gauthier has only thrown one pass for South Carolina in his young college career, but you can fit him for a hero’s cape for what he’s doing off the field and fans that help with his cause are right up there with him. Gauthier is taking advantage of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) opportunities to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation by directing proceeds from the sale of his #4 replica jerseys to the non-profit.
“I’ve always been a big believer that everyone has a responsibility to do good,” said Gauthier, who is a public health major for Bethlehem, Georgia. “If you have a platform like we have as college football players, you can do that. It doesn’t matter if you are household name in the SEC, or whether you’re starting or second string, third string, or a walk-on. I wanted to do something to give back.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps fulfill the wishes of children suffering from a critical illness between the ages of 2 ½ and 18 years old.
Gauthier got the idea after doing a podcast with a fellow alumnus of his high school who had been a recipient of a wish from Make-A-Wish.
“He was about three of four years older than me, and he was a Make-A-Wish kid,” Gauthier said. “He’s living with cerebral palsy.”
“To me, this is just an easy way to give back and show people what I am about.”
While Gauthier is glad that he and his fellow student-athletes can now make money off of their Name, Image, and Likeness, he’s happy to put that opportunity to good use.
“It’s not about the money to me. I have a small goal to raise one thousand dollars, but hopefully the whole idea of it will run over that amount,” Gauthier said. “To me, this is just an easy way to give back and show people what I am about.
“So, South Carolina fans are not only representing the school by going out and getting a jersey, but they’re doing something bigger than that by helping out a good cause that will help kids.”
As he just recently launched this effort, he won’t be surprised if other student-athletes elsewhere replicate his idea.
“I hope so!” Gauthier said. “The more people we have doing this, the better! They’re bringing more attention to the cause, so I hope there will be more people that do this. I’m sure there are already people out there doing some variation of this, but as I said, the more the better.”
While there is no telling what “wish” his funds will go to, he would love the opportunity to meet a child who benefits from his efforts.
“That’s part of the goal,” Gauthier said. “If there is a Make-A-Wish kid or anyone going through a tough time that are big South Carolina fans or college football fans in general, and I can meet them, I’ll always take time out of my schedule and go to give them a little help or something to hold on to.
“I remember being a little kid and thinking that those players on the field are Super Men. Football players were my superheroes growing up. I understand the power and honor that comes with being a college football player, so you have to give back and use this platform in a positive way.”