TA Cunningham

National name, image and likeness (NIL) hasn’t been a smooth rollout in college sports. It’s been the wild, wild west in many cases, as T.A. Cunningham, the No. 1 defensive lineman in the 2024 class, recently found out while trying to transfer from Georgia to Los Alamitos High School in Orange County, California.

Lawyers for the high school junior (ranked first at DL and 19th overall in the 247 Sports composite index) filed in court on Thursday for an immediate injunction that would let their client play this fall season after they say he was victimized by “unscrupulous NIL agents.”

The filing alleges the Cunningham family discussed a “California plan” with Levels Sports before being evicted from their Georgia apartment. The family contends that Level Sports promised “a home, transportation and meals in California” while seeking lucrative NIL deals for T.A., a high school junior with over 60 collegiate scholarship offers.

In an even wilder twist to the story, the filing cites Chris “Frogg” Flores, the former youth sports trainer charged in August with six counts of molesting a teenager. Flores has since pled not guilty and awaits a pretrial hearing on Oct. 28th.

“Flores’ role was to market Cunningham to university football programs’ collective groups in order to obtain a lucrative NIL deal,” the filing states. “Flores and Levels paid for [Cunningham] to visit the following football programs: USC, UCLA, Michigan, Michigan State, Central Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas and Texas A&M.”

Los Alamitos Unified School District superintendent Andrew Pulver didn’t immediately respond to media requests for comment on the filing.

[The Orange County Register; image from Cunningham’s appearance on The Luke Winstel Show in March]

About DJ Byrnes

D.J. Byrnes is a terminally online sports journalist living in Columbus, Ohio. He enjoys bicycling, reading and writing in his spare time.