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NIL Deals of the Week: Rhoback U adds Bijan Robinson, Michael Mayer

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With college football inching closer, more NIL collectives continue to ramp up production.

A new SMU group hit the market this week, unveiling plans to dish out $36k to football and basketball players. With deep-pocked donors in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it’s no surprise that the Mustangs are able to access that cash. It’s another sign of where NIL is headed in Year 2.

Elsewhere in the collective landscape, USC is dealing with a new, third-party collective named “Student Body Right.” The organization has plans to pay Trojans athletes the equivalent of a base salary. A high-ranking USC official informed On3, however, that the institution would be, “Wary of anyone launching a NIL initiative who has no known connection to the athletics program and no proven track record of supporting our student-athletes.”

There are plenty of creative and original partnerships to highlight in this week’s NIL Deals of the Week. With a mission to highlight the top deals of every week, the On3 NIL team will focus on identifying noteworthy deals in the college athletics and high school landscape.

As a reminder, feel free to submit info on your NIL deal to On3. You can send an email to [email protected] or reach out via DM or comment on Twitter to @On3NIL or @deals_nil. Direct messages are open, too, on the @On3NIL Instagram account.

Let’s get to the deals that highlighted this week in NIL.

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Rhoback U signs Bijan Robinson, Michael Mayer

Rhoback, the fast-growing apparel company, continues to add to its college division in a hurry. The polo and quarter-zip company has been aggressive in Year 1 of NIL, opening the program up to all levels of college athletes.

It is also adding major college football talent to its roster. Last month, Rhoback signed Alabama linebacker Will Anderson. And in the past week, Texas running back Bijan Robinson and Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer have each inked deals.

The three additions are “pillars” of the Rhoback U program. Each have exclusive apparel deals with the company and will be compensated. Contracts expire at the end of this season.

Other athletes who sign on with Rhoback are given free merchandise and a code to push out on social media. Those student-athletes can receive 20% of all sales they drive to the website.

But for Anderson, Robinson and Mayer, Rhoback is another major addition to their arsenal of deals. The Texas running back has deals with C4 Energy and Lamborghini Austin. Mayer was in a Levi photoshoot next to George Kittle earlier this summer.

Robinson holds an On3 NIL Valuation of $1.6 million, which places him in the top 10 of the NIL 100. With a $846K evaluation, Mayer ranks No. 23 in the NIL 100 and holds the highest ranking on the Notre Dame roster.

New SMU collective to dish out $36k to football, basketball players

SMU was a college football power in the early 1980s. And Boulevard Collective, a new NIL collective, is setting the Mustangs up for years of future success.

Multiple sources indicated to On3 that Boulevard Collective will quickly become one of the biggest players in the NIL space. The collective is set to pay players on both the football and basketball teams $36,000 a year — a total payout of $3.5 million annually — for NIL activity.

Driven by Dallas business leaders and SMU alumni, Chris Kleinert, CEO of Hunt Realty Investments, and Kyle Miller, president and CEO of Silver Hill Energy Partner, conference realignment played a role in Boulevard’s formation.

The plan is to not stop at football or basketball.

“While our first activation here was for football and men’s basketball, we’re not limiting Boulevard’s membership and athletes we offer opportunities to in just those sports,” said Chris Schoemann, who will serve as the organization’s executive director. “Our plans go beyond that. The plan is to open it up past those two sports.”

Boulevard is the second collective to hit the SMU market. Pony Sports DTX has already executed $1 million worth in deals. And it has had success with donations, too, thanks to annual and individual contributions. The two collectives are not competitors, and there has not been any talks of merging.

Players will not be paid lump sum payments, and they will not be front-loaded at the start of the season. Opendorse will oversee NIL education, disclosures and tax-related preparation.

The Matador Club, a Texas Tech collective, unveiled plans last month to pay each football player $25,000 a year. But Monday’s news from the Boulevard Collective is more than a $10,000 hike in compensation.

SMU’s move joins a growing trend across college sports. Since Ohio State head coach Ryan Day told Columbus, Ohio, business owners that the Buckeyes needed to raise $13 million annually in NIL cash, more team-wide payments have emerged. And it could mark the next iteration of collectives. Ones who have more money and are spending cash on the current roster opposed to recruiting.

LSU commit Shelton Sampson Jr. signs first NIL Deal

Shelton Sampson Jr. has inked his first ever NIL partnership.

The On3 Consensus five-star receiver announced a partnership with Elete Sports to release a branded clothing line Tuesday, which is now available for sale. T-shirts with “Why Not? SS6” are now for sale. SS6 stands for Shelton Sampson, and No. 6 represents his current football jersey number. The news came only days after his commitment to LSU.

The deal was brokered on MatchPoint Connection, which uses a unique algorithm to quickly “match” talent to brands for paid promotions. Elete Sports is an e-commerce business that partners with athletes to promote and develop personalized brand merchandise to monetize through NIL.

A Baton Rouge, La., native, Sampson is the 18th commitment in the Class of 2023 for LSU. He ranks as the No. 6 wide receiver and No. 32 overall prospect, per the On3 Consensus, a complete and equally weighted industry-generated average that utilizes all four major recruiting media companies.

When he made his verbal commitment on The Jordy Culotta Show, he said he chose LSU because, “Why not?”

“I’ve been thinking about how I could make SS6 a reality for a while,” Sampson said in the press release. “To see it all come together the same day I made one of the biggest decisions of my life was crazy.”

Sources tell On3 that Sampson’s inaugural deal will just be the first of many. Louisiana high school athletes can profit off their NIL after an April vote by the Louisiana High School Athletic Association. Plans are in the works to use his final year of high school to set the groundwork for his brand and NIL opportunities.

The LSU commit has an On3 NIL Valuation of 254K, which ranks No. 26 in On3’s high school NIL rankings. He’s seen his valuation jump 14 percent since his commitment.

Pack of Wolves set to payout entire NC State roster

When the NC State collective Pack of Wolves launched in May, the organization made clear that it was 100% of donations from individual members would go to student-athletes.

The collective is holding up its promise. When it hosts ‘Meet the Pack Day’ this Saturday at PNC Arena, every participating scholarship and walk-on football player will be compensated.

“We’re proud to be one of the very few collectives in the country to be able to support our entire football program with unique and engaging NIL opportunities,” Pack of Wolves Board chairman Charlie Stallings said in a press release. “Athletics hasn’t been able to provide this event to fans the last couple of years because of COVID, so we’re excited for NC State supporters, fans and the community to enjoy this classic throwback event.”  

NC State fans will have the opportunity Saturday to meet members of the football team, take pictures, receive autographs and bid on Wolfpack memorabilia. Not only will all 85 scholarship athletes receive payouts, they will also have the opportunity to sign on for future sponsorship deals through the end of December. 

Just another example of the role team-wide payments are playing in college football.





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