As college athletics moves into year three of NIL, the role of NIL collectives is expected to increase. Soon after college athletes were granted the right to profit from their NIL, entities called NIL collectives emerged. The Gator Collective was one of the first NIL Collectives. It was started to provide NIL support to the college athletes at the University of Florida. The Gator Collective raised hundreds of thousands of dollars and facilitated over 100 NIL deals for Florida's college athletes. The Gator Collective was also the first NIL Collective to sponsor the athletic department that it supports.
While the Gator Collective has folded its operations into Florida Victorious, its creation led to a wave of other NIL Collectives being created. In fact, at least 92% of Power 5 schools and all 14 schools in the SEC have at least one NIL Collective. The emergence of these entities amongst some of biggest college athletics programs in the country leads to one question - What are NIL Collectives?
What are NIL Collectives?
NIL collectives are organizations created by alumni, boosters, or businesses with
the purpose of providing NIL opportunities to their school’s athletes. NIL Collectives essentially provide avenues for donors to pool their money together to pay their school's athletes for their NIL. There are 4 types of NIL Collectives:
1. Marketplace Collectives
Marketplace collectives create an opportunity for college athletes to connect with businesses to discuss potential NIL opportunities. Marketplace collectives are great marketing tools for college athletes as they provide college athletes with an opportunity to market their personal brand and connect with businesses that are looking to do NIL deals with college athletes. In some instances, marketplace collectives act as an agent representative for the athletes.
2. Donor-Drive Collectives
Donor-Driven collectives use a model that pools funds from boosters, business entities, and fans via a subscription service. The subscription service provides contributors special access to events ran by the collective where the players make appearances.
3. Dual Collectives
4. Player-Driven NIL Collectives
Player Driven collectives are powered by YOKE, a company whose website describes it as the “premier web3 company providing technology for athletes to build community and
receive equitable compensation” for NIL. Under the player-driven collective, the organization is led by the players while the infrastructure is put together by YOKE.
It is no doubt that NIL collectives have become integral part of the college athletics NIL landscape. Approximately over 200 NIL collectives have been formed to support a multitude of universities. Most recently, seven NIL collectives came together to form a NIL Collective Association.
The Collective Association
- Classic City Collective (University of Georgia)
- Sypre Sports Group (University of Tennessee)
- The Battle's End (Florida State University)
- House of Victory (University of Southern California)
- Champions Circle (University of Michigan)
- Happy Valley United (Penn State University)
The TCA appears to have a few initiatives that it will be focused on such as proposing a model of revenue sharing that does not require college athletes to be classified as employees. It will be interesting to see the impact of the TCA and to see if any other collectives join the effort. One thing that appears to be certain is that NIL collectives are here to stay.
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