Episode 1: Volleyball Alumna CC McGraw Launches on National Girls & Women in Sports Day 

MINNEAPOLIS – The University of Minnesota Athletics, in its continued commitment to spotlight the next generation of female leaders, launches its newest original content series entitled “Athletes in Leadership” on National Girls & Women in Sports Day.

This marks the third video series done in conjunction with Gopher sponsors Unilever and Cub and alongside the university’s athletics multimedia rightsholder, LEARFIELD’s Gopher Sports Properties. Additionally, LEARFIELD Studios served as the Gophers’ creative development and production partner as it did with the aforementioned “Women in Leadership” and “Girls in Leadership” series.

“We are thankful for the continued support of Unilever and Cub of Gopher Athletics and especially our female student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics Mark Coyle. “They partnered with four outstanding young women who are tremendous ambassadors for their sport, Athletics and the University. I am excited for Gopher fans to watch Athletes in Leadership and to learn more about our future leaders in CC, Taylor, Maya and Taylor.”

Episode 1: “Athletes in Leadership” features volleyball graduate student CC McGraw. It is now live on the series’ dedicated page within GopherSports.com. Fans can watch the debut episode highlighting McGraw, who boasted a stellar five-year career for the Gophers while representing her home state. She talks openly about social media detox and the importance of setting boundaries around the frequency and use of engaging on social platforms.

Episodes 2-4 also will spotlight U of M female student-athletes addressing other key topics that include body positivity, self-esteem and sustainability. They candidly share their perspectives with fans and discuss how they choose to live out their daily lives on campus as they intently focus on achieving their academic and athletic endeavors.

The subsequent release schedule is as follows:

Episode 2 – Mya Hooten, Minnesota Gymnastics (Feb. 8)

Episode 3 – Taylor Landfair, Minnesota Volleyball (Feb. 15)

Episode 4 – Taylor Heise, Minnesota Hockey (Feb. 22)

For Unilever and Cub, the “Athletes in Leadership” series presents a unique opportunity to leverage their respective brands with student-athlete name, image and likeness (NIL). As longtime Gopher corporate partners with use of university IP, Gopher Sports Properties ensured the new NIL component was incorporated into their current sponsorships. LEARFIELD, which does not represent student-athletes, helps its school and brand partners navigate the permissible ins and outs of NIL and brand engagement.

“We are proud to collaborate with Athletics and LEARFIELD Studios in providing a platform to showcase a handful of Gopher student-athletes who continue to do great work on and off the court, mat and ice,” said Gopher Sports Properties’ Vice President/General Manager Greg Gerlach. “The continued support of Unilever and Cub made this possible, and we’re excited for Gopher fans to witness these student-athletes ‘Talk the Talk’ during the Athletes in Leadership series.”


LEARFIELD is a leading media, data and technology services company in intercollegiate athletics. Its Minneapolis-based Gopher Sports Properties team works alongside the entire athletics administration in complete oversight of the comprehensive multimedia rights relationship. LEARFIELD unlocks the value of college sports for brands and fans through an omnichannel platform with innovative content and commerce solutions. The company’s services include licensing and multimedia sponsorship management; publishing, audio, digital and social media; data analytics; ticketing, ticket sales and professional concessions expertise; branding; campus-wide business and sponsorship development. Since 2008, it has served as title sponsor for the acclaimed LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup, supporting athletic departments across all divisions.