The world of college athletics collectives continues to move at warp speed as we witness in real time a wild west land grab for talent. That comes with major pros and cons both for players, coaches and fans.
In the pro column, college athletes are finally getting a piece of an ever growing pie. College football and men’s basketball are both multi-billion dollar industries while college wrestling, women’s basketball and baseball all run near break-even or even in the black at some of the best schools around the country. But until 2021 it was not illegal but against NCAA rules for athletes to receive any sort of compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for the use of their name, image or likeness. That is, unless you were a college coach or athletic department selling tickets, jerseys or advertisements.
So getting some of that cash into the hands of the young men and women putting in the hours and hours of hard work is a positive. But where there is money there are people with bad intentions following the money. That means agents, advisors and clingers-on of all shapes and sizes looking to capitalize on the money that is now flowing to 18-22 year-olds.
And because this is the wild west and the NCAA has done absolutely nothing to set guardrails or boundaries, the money involved is growing exponentially in record time and the deals are getting more and more wild. We’ve already seen Texas A&M buy the top-ranked recruiting class in the college football world a season ago. Now in the next cycle, Tennessee has a collective working to do the same by offering seven-figure deals for the top player in the nation and working their way into visits from players previously showing absolute no interest in the program.
But for Hawkeye fans, the cash flow is starting to hit closer and closer to home. As Fran McCaffery and the Iowa men’s basketball team looks to fill holes left by the early departure of Keegan Murray for the NBA, they’re working the NCAA transfer portal for a big man. They made the cut to 5 for Utah Valley center Fardaws Aimaq and were supposed to be getting a visit. Now that’s come into question as Gonzaga has entered the mix and there are rumors of a six-figure NIL deal being floated by a number of suitors, including Texas, Texas Tech and Washington.
That wouldn’t be the first college hoops transfer to get such a deal. In recent weeks, we saw Iowa State breakout point guard Tyrese Hunter enter the portal after reportedly being offered upwards of $700,000 to do so. Just last week, Kansas State guard Nijel Pack spurned his home-state Purdue Boilermakers, after taking a reported $400,000 NIL deal, to head to South Beach on a 2-year, $800,000 deal with Miami’s collective.
Top transfer prospect Nijel Pack has announced that he will join the Miami Hurricanes.— Front Office Sports (@FOS) April 23, 2022
The rising junior will also receive:
➖ A car
➖ $800,000 over two years through an NIL deal with LifeWallet pic.twitter.com/B4WHQMPNEU
Now, just this week, a new collective has popped up inside the state’s borders as Iowa State unveiled the “We Will” collective. It claims to be geared toward helping charities with the aim of putting money in athletes’ pockets in exchange for helping raise charity dollars, making it a bit different from most of the collective which have popped up in recent weeks simply to buy recruits and transfers for their respective schools.
With the rapid expansion and evolution of this new world, we’re circling back to a poll we posed a few weeks ago. At the time, we wanted to know how many members of this community would be interested in paying for some sort of premium product with the cost going to pay players. Roughly 40% of respondents said they would be interested in doing something without much direction on what that could look like.
Now we’d like to give a little sample of what, exactly, such an arrangement could look like. It’s worth repeating that nothing about Black Heart Gold Pants as you know it is changing (other than a new commenting platform!) and this is something above and beyond the current blog, but it would allow us to bring in depth interviews with Iowa athletes in-house in a way we’ve never done before. Interviews like the one below with Spencer Petras.
And it wouldn’t be just limited to football players. TeamPaper has already partnered with a number of men’s and women’s basketball players to create loads of content for subscribers. As we get into the summer and prepare for fall camp, access to the football team will ramp up and going into next winter, there’s the possibility of adding wrestling to the platform as well.
You can get a look at a sample landing page for subscribers to TeamPaper here. Again, this is early days and that’s only a sample of the content available, but we’re looking for feedback on the community’s interest in such a service as well as the types of content you all would be interested in paying a premium for (if at all).
In it’s current format, a subscription to TeamPaper runs $10 per month with $8 going directly to the athletes, $1 going to charity and $1 going to the team at TeamPaper. Any potential partnership with Black Heart Gold Pants would likely see some portion of that last $1 split with the folks that help make this place run day in and day out, not from the portion going to the players or charity.
Thoughts or opinions on a small-scale way to get money to Iowa athletes and get some additional content for it? Or maybe just on the recent changes in collectives in college sports? We want your feedback below!