Published on March 7th, 2022 | by Darren Paltrowitz


College Basketball Star Zia Cooke On Working With H&R Block, Music, Television, TikTok & Goals

Since the NCAA NIL ruling last year, stats show that big brands are focusing on male athletes with big-money deals, leaving women behind. A third-party study showed Division I male athletes grabbed 67.4 percent of total NIL compensation compared with 32.6 percent of women through December 31, 2021, citing data for some 55,000 athletes across more than 575 schools. H&R Block is stepping in to help close the gap—not only standing up for female college athletes with financial support, but also providing tax preparation services to help sponsored athletes navigate their changing financial circumstances. New income means tax changes, and H&R Block wants to help these women get every dollar they deserve while also setting them up for long-term financial success and stability.

As announced earlier this month, H&R Block is taking a stand to champion women’s equity in college sports by committing $1 million through sponsorships and support, and the University of South Carolina’s Zia Cooke is one of the first athletes to be part of this initiative, along with the University of Iowa’s Caitlin Clark. Prior to her top-notch college basketball career, at Rogers High School in Toledo, Ohio — where she also ran track and cross country beyond playing soccer and softball — Cookie was rated a five-star recruit by ESPN and earned McDonald’s All-American honors. A two-time All-SEC selection in college, Cooke helped South Carolina reach the Final Four of the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

On March 7, 2022, I had the pleasure of speaking with Zia Cooke via Zoom, as embedded below. Beyond H&R Block and NIL’s, we also talked about music, television, social media and goals. More on Cooke and her upcoming projects can be found online by clicking here, here and here.

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About the Author

Darren Paltrowitz is a New York resident with over 20 years of entertainment industry experience. He began working around the music business as a teenager, interning for the manager of his then-favorite band Superdrag. Since then, he has worked with a wide array of artists including OK Go, They Might Be Giants, Mike Viola, Tracy Bonham, Loudness, Rachael Yamagata, and Amanda Palmer. Darren's writing has appeared in dozens of outlets including the New York Daily News, Inquisitr, The Daily Meal, The Hype Magazine, All Music Guide, Guitar World,, Businessweek, Chicago Tribune, L.A. Times, and the Jewish Journal. Beyond being "Editor At Large" for The Hype Magazine, Darren is also the host of weekly "Paltrocast With Darren Paltrowitz" series, which airs on dozens on television and digital networks. He has also co-authored 2 published books, 2018's "Pocket Change: Your Happy Money" (Book Web Publishing) and 2019's "Good Advice From Professional Wrestling" (6623 Press), and co-hosts the world's only known podcast about David Lee Roth, "The DLR Cast."

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