NIL Newsletter #96 | NCAA Enforcement email, TCU collective merger, Atlantic Records x INFLCR, CJ Stroud's new whip + ICYMI Ticker AND an NIL Twitter feud
Welcome to the NIL Newsletter by Optimum Sports Consulting - providing valuable, actionable NIL resources for student athletes, administrators, agents and other sport professionals.
Recapping NIL This Weekend:
NCAA national office releases letter to all members regarding NIL
In an email to NCAA member schools, NCAA Vice President of Enforcement Jon Duncan said that the enforcement staff in Indianapolis is “aware of stories reported publicly and other instances in which NIL benefits are potentially being used inappropriately.”
Notably, the email stated: “To be very clear, the enforcement staff is not focused on the eligibility of current or prospective student athletes.”
Full email, obtained by Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger, is below:
TCU NIL collectives KF NIL, LLC. and Think NIL merge
TCU is the latest school to see an NIL collective merger. Think NIL, a collective formed in January, will take over the operation of KF NIL, LLC. The new company will maintain the Think NIL name and focus exclusively on providing funding for NIL opportunities for SAs at TCU.
“Think NIL is poised to be the leader in the NIL marketplace for TCU student-athletes,” said Brent Cunningham, VP of Think NIL. “Acquiring the assets of KF NIL, LLC made sense as we move to consolidate the NIL landscape around TCU and make it easier for the athletes to navigate the plethora of opportunities that have been given to them in a short amount of time. We are committed to operating within the vision of TCU Athletics and remain in lockstep with their values.”
“The legal issues and compliance regulations can become overwhelming,” said Ryann Zeller, owner of KF NIL and KillerFrogs.com. “We looked at what Think NIL was doing and saw an opportunity to merge with them. We will provide additional marketing opportunities for the student athletes that contract with Think NIL. It becomes a win-win for everyone.”
In early May, two key Florida State NIL collectives announced a historic merger. Rising Spear and Warpath 850 announced a consolidation. The move was believed to be the first merger in the collective space in the NIL era, according to On3.
Atlantic Records becomes first music company to partner with INFLCR
Atlantic Records is expanding its partnership with INFLCR. With the partnership’s extension, Atlantic will use INFLCR’s Global Exchange to connect with over 64,000 SAs to promote upcoming music. Atlantic Records will be the first ever label to participate in this NIL program.
Atlantic x INFLCR opens the door for more connection between the collegiate sports and entertainment industry. A new wave of musicians are looking to athletes to help promote new songs. In the fall of 2021, Atlantic’s VP of Digital Marketing and Sports Partnerships, Justin Grant, reached out to INFLCR with the idea to promote some of the label’s priority releases. The need helped shape the Global Exchange, and now Atlantic can use a turnkey system to promote their artists.
“Our original partnership with Atlantic Records has given our clients a competitive edge when it comes to content,” said INFLCR Founder Jim Cavale. “With Atlantic now going into the Global Exchange, that edge gets passed to our student-athletes. It’s an exciting way to connect the sports and entertainment industry in this new NIL era.”
The Atlantic Records roster today includes artists like Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars/Silk Sonic, Ed Sheeran, Cardi B, Coldplay, Charlie Puth, Janelle Monáe, Jack Harlow, Kodak Black, Death Cab for Cutie, Matchbox Twenty, Lil Uzi Vert, Gucci Mane, Pooh Shiesty, Roddy Ricch, Youngboy Never Broke Again, and many more.
Ohio State QB CJ Stroud partners with luxury car dealership
The Buckeyes quarterback has partnered with Sarchione Auto Gallery where he will promote the car dealership on social media as well as make public appearances at the business.
Initially, The Dispatch reported that Stroud took home a $150,000 Bentley Bentayga, but ABC6 reported that Stroud actually drove away in with a $200,000 Mercedes AMG G Wagon instead.
As part of the deal, Stroud will have the chance to lease a new car with the dealership after 45 days. Stroud, who has been sought after by several caller dealerships, chose to partner with Sarchione when he saw former Buckeyes WR Chris Olave driving a BMW X7 as part of a partnership before the 2022 NFL draft according to The Dispatch.
Athletes First, that agency that represents Stroud in his NIL ventures, reached out to the Canton, Ohio-based dealership to express interest in a partnership. Stroud becomes the first Ohio State player to partake in a partnership with the dealership since NIL deals with college athletes became official in July 2021. Prior to Stroud, Sarchione had only been in partnership deals with players on the Cleveland Browns.
Michigan AD Warde Manuel said this week on the department-produced “Conqu’ring Heroes” podcast that there are “a couple of collectives in development here.” The Detroit News reported on Friday formation of “The Champions Circle,” an NIL collective for Michigan Football formed by a group of Michigan donors. The group has not yet made a formal announcement, but another group, “Stadium & Main,” described as a “trusted group of dedicated alumni aiming to raise NIL funds and match opportunities for University of Michigan athletes,” has already launched a website.
University of Virginia Football’s QB Brennan Armstrong has officially inked a sponsorship deal with the local McDonald’s franchises owned & operated by RAHE, Inc. The collaboration comes after RAHE, Inc. announced a partnership with the alumni-driven collective Cavalier Futures in March 2022 to bring NIL opportunities to University of Virginia student athletes. In addition to social media promotion on behalf of McDonald’s, Armstrong will launch a celebrity meal similar to the Travis Scott “Cactus Jack Meal” released in 2020.
The Andre Agassi Foundation for Education is helping fund a third-party NIL program to financially benefit UNLV SAs. More HERE.
Before playing his first game at Penn State, running back Nicholas Singleton has signed an NIL deal. West Shore Home, a home remodeling company based in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, announced that it has signed the Nittany Lions freshman running back to a multi-year NIL endorsement contract.
Oklahoma State now has two NIL collectives after the launch of Pokes with a Purpose. The group joins Unbridled representing Oklahoma State athletics. Pokes with a Purpose is a registered non-profit. The group says it will use NIL to raise awareness and funds for worthy charities and charitable causes. Pokes with a Purpose says athletes will be able to receive compensation from their NIL, while also building closer ties with the community. Full story from On3 HERE.
The Miami Immortals, a 7v7 football organization, is signing an NIL deal with ScorePlay ahead of the inaugural Overtime OT7 League in Las Vegas. Current clients for ScorePlay include Real Sociedad of La Liga, AS Monaco FC of Ligue 1, Orlando City of the MLS, Dundee United of the Scottish Premiership and Corinthians of Serie A. More HERE.
Interesting story about Ashton Keys - CEO/Co-Founder of Athlytic, a startup that has developed a software platform to connect collegiate athletes and businesses as they search for NIL deals. In 2021, Athlytic won a $50,000 grant from local nonprofit Arch Grants, and Keys relocated to St. Louis for the program. Full story HERE.
502 Circle, the new NIL collective for the University of Louisville, says they will officially launch in late-August. More HERE.
How much does Penn State Football need to be competitive in the NIL space? PSU HC James Franklin: “More than the numbers you’ve heard.”
Rice University and The Brandr Group (TBG) have established a group licensing program for the university's student-athletes covering all the Owls' 16 varsity sports. Full announcement HERE.
… And some Twitter drama
Darren Rovell (The Action Network) insinuated that the University of Tennessee and Sprye Sports Marketing (who are linked to NIL collective work) are illegally recruiting student athletes to Knoxville. Austin Price of rivals.com responded. Here’s the bulk of the feud below:
Maui Ahuna @MauiAhunaLet’s get it @Vol_Baseball🍊 https://t.co/8Qykn3PG2o
Darren Rovell @darrenrovellTennessee not only spending major NIL money on football….heard this was a decent size purchase. https://t.co/LIqczna6If
Darren Rovell @darrenrovell@AustinPriceless Let’s talk about your journalism. Aren’t you actively involved in helping the Spyre Group negotiate NIL deals for kids signing with Tennessee?