Creating Sustainable NIL Collectives
Updated: Mar 6
In its most recent guidelines around student-athlete Name, Image & Likeness (“NIL”), the NCAA made it clear: there is a place for the donor-supported NIL “collectives” in this dynamic ecosystem.
Even as regulations remain murky overall, and the NCAA continues to plead for regulatory action from Congress, it is clear that collectives will retain an important role in the monetization of NIL.
NIL collectives are organizations designed to pool funding to purchase NIL activities from an institution's student-athletes. Some are organized as for-profit organizations, usually as limited liability corporations (“LLC”), while others have opted to seek non-profit 501(c)(3) (charitable designation. More than 170 collectives have been created since 2021 with a new one seeming to pop up almost every day.
Taking the lead with Collectives
Yet the most recent NCAA guidelines for NIL clearly carved out a space for collectives by limiting how much direct involvement institutions can have in brokering NIL opportunities. Further, many institutions are now aligning with their third-party donor collectives through official partnerships that include sponsorships and both direct and indirect relationships.
As we near the end of the second year of NIL, it is also clear that what began with alumni pooling dollars to support a handful of athletes must evolve to be run like a regulated business. Collectives need infrastructure, technology and human capital to scale their operations. The more dollars they raise, the more athletes they support, the more this need to operationalize the business is amplified.
Failure to have these systems in place leads to inefficient management of the NIL dollar’s journey to the student-athlete. This can greatly increase risks for the collective and the student-athletes and the institution it supports. Without the proper technology and infrastructure, collectives can find themselves needing more human capital to better raise funds, adding more human capital to deploy those resources, growing larger as an organization but never scaling their NIL impact.
As NIL matures, it is important to remember that the student-athlete should be at the center of it all. Education and opportunity collide to create real business dollars. But this comes with complexity and risk for the student-athlete and those working with him or her. The student-athlete needs guidance and support to maximize potential.
The Role of the University
The university is a stakeholder on multiple levels. It is tasked with educating its student-athletes, empowering them with tools for success and ensuring compliance with institutional rules, NCAA guidelines and state laws. Institutions are committing big resources both to support and protect their student-athletes, but also to send the message to future student-athletes that they back their student-athletes’ ability to cash in on NIL.
The brands that wish to align with student-athletes have a say as well. They are continually looking for the best and most efficient ways to work with athletes while getting their best return on investment. It is, after all, a business decision. Partnerships will be evaluated along business lines. Their sponsored student-athletes.
This is where Athlete Licensing Company (“ALC”) can help any collective level up their business.
ALC’s Gameday NIL platform offers valuable capabilities that enhance and protect NIL activity for all stakeholders: student-athletes, institutions, collectives and brands/agencies.
Gameday NIL is not a marketplace but it can aggregate deals from any source to consolidate compliance reporting and tax documentation. This all-in-one tool kit will operationalize NIL while protecting student-athletes and enabling institutions and collectives with the transparency required to empower NIL activity efficiently, compliantly and safely.
ALC has solutions for all stakeholders in the NIL space, providing the connective infrastructure to scale the NIL opportunity while keeping the student-athlete experience at the forefront of the operation. As collectives grow, they’ll need to be efficient to ensure they can meet the needs of this evolving, dynamic space. ALC’s Gameday NIL platform will allow the collective to focus on fundraising by automating much of the administrative operations.
Club NILlionnaire: A student-athlete app in which athletes users can accept, manage, report, document and receive payment for NIL deals while also accessing real-time, contextual educational materials, deal analysis, legal review and more. Managing their NIL business in the palm of their hand has never been easier.
Hype: A NIL operations system for collectives and agencies, providing automated deal disclosure to the university, proof of work collection, quid pro quo verification and brand/player matchmaking capabilities. Deal flow can even be automated via ALC’s Autopilot function.
Courtside: A donor engagement platform with tiered access to premium content and events to drive membership and
Will Call: A deal-building function that can even be automated to construct, review, and execute compliant NIL deals from activation through payment and tax documentation and allocation.
Arena: A university’s one-stop source for automated disclosure aggregation, automated contract issue flagging, institutional IP use approval workflows, delegated roster management, and marketplace integrations.
Click here to learn more and to set up a demo today.
Athlete Licensing Company (“ALC”) is a technology company focused on the management, protection, and monetization of collegiate athletes’ name, image, and likeness (“NIL”) rights.
The collegiate NIL rights space is a new frontier, and we are making it our mission first to protect and then accelerate the monetization of student-athletes’ NIL rights. With that mission in mind, we deliver technology to enable the future of collegiate athletics in the era of NIL compensation. For more information on ALC, visit https://www.athlete-licensing.com.