UNLV quarterback Max Gilliam recently had an unexpected star turn, appearing in a multi-episode arc on the Bravo TV reality show “Below Deck.”
The show, in its eighth season, focuses on the crew of a yacht and the rotating cast of clients who charter the vessel.
Gilliam appeared in the episode “Max and Dax’s Excellent Adventure,” which according to the show’s website first aired on Nov. 16. He was identified in the episode as a “star quarterback at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.”
So what is Gilliam, a native of Thousand Oaks, California, who is sharing first-team reps at quarterback at UNLV, doing on a reality series in the Caribbean?
The team, which is scheduled to play its final game of the season Saturday at Hawaii, declined to make Gilliam available to discuss it. A UNLV spokesman said coach Marcus Arroyo did not have a comment.
This much we know about the show: Unlike many reality series, charter guests don’t get paid for appearances. According to BravoTV.com, the guests pay to charter the boats, which cost between $140,000 and $175,000 a week during the show’s first two seasons.
Also, the guests are expected to provide a generous tip at the end of their voyage. While all indications are that Gilliam was not compensated for his appearance, it would have been allowed under a new NCAA ruling that allows college athletes to benefit from the use of their name, image and likeness in a manner consistent with the collegiate model.
He appeared with his childhood best friend, Dax Nittolo, another friend identified on the show only as Luke, and their three girlfriends. They chartered the boat out of Jolly Harbour, Antigua.
Dinner on the first night was the highlight of the episode. A world-class chef describes with painstaking detail her sushi preparation but expresses frustration her efforts may have been wasted on a group that seems far more infatuated with how it was served.
They had requested the sushi to be laid out on a nude model, who had to be picked up from shore and adorned in large leafs before rice and raw fish were placed over her.
Gilliam on Monday apologized for taking part in the scene with the nude model.
According to local media reports, the show was filmed in Antigua in February and March. There are no signs of the looming pandemic, and that time frame would have been in the middle of UNLV’s spring semester.
While he was exploring the boat, Gilliam peered into a room where the crew was hard at work and engaged in a discussion. His surprise expression was captured in a screenshot by a Twitter user and retweeted by Gilliam on social media.