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Black Heart Gold Patreon

Wait, what?

Syndication: HawkCentral
All contributions will go to The Swarm
Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK

They’re gonna do WHAT?!?!

The Pants is launching a Patreon page along with a Discord server. You read that right, but before you close your browser tab and vow to never return, let’s walk through what that means and maybe more importantly, what it doesn’t mean.

For starters, it doesn’t mean anything changes with this site. Everything you see here on a regular basis will stay here. We aren’t putting anything special behind a pay wall and frankly, if we tried to do that we would probably be ousted from SB Nation. So fear not - this is not some big change in how things are run!

What it is, however, is an opportunity for you to both gain some additional access to the staff, what we’re thinking, what we’re hearing and what we’re planning, while also providing financial support. But, and here is the really important part, the financial support is not for the staff. We are not in this for the money (if we were, we would have all left long ago) and this new avenue is not to support anyone here. Instead, this is an opportunity to support Hawkeye athletes.

And that’s the genesis for all this.

Some background color.

College athletes are being paid. That is a statement that has been true for more than 100 years. But now it’s legal. We can debate the merits of the system in place, the moral issues associated with it or the structure that admittedly makes almost no sense, but at the end of the day, college athletes are now legally able to receive funds for the use of their name, image and likeness. And if the fanbase of the school you root for is unable to provide competitive compensation, your school is going to attract athletes who are not as well regarded as those of other programs. That’s the reality we’re living in whether any of us like it or not.

The good news is, Iowa already has a strong and growing NIL platform thanks to Brad Heinrichs and the Swarm. If you’re not familiar, the Swarm is a 501(c)(3) non-profit that allows fans to make tax-deductible contributions to the collective. Those contributions are then pooled and paid out monthly to Iowa football and men’s and women’s basketball players who participate in volunteer activities coordinated by the collective. It’s a fantastic way to contribute funds to support the Hawkeyes and also help the community.

The only catch is those funds are directed by the collective and are evenly split among football and men’s and women’s basketball based on the number of scholarship athletes for each. At this point in time, that means funds contributed to the non-profit are distributed roughly 80% to football with 10% each to men’s and women’s hoops. For contributors who choose to give more than $1,000, they can direct those funds specifically to one of the three sports, but there is no ability to give the funds to a specific player.

That is unless you make a non-deductible contribution to Swarm Inc. This arm of the Swarm is more in line with what you may have initially thought NIL was intended to be. The local car dealership signs a deal with the star QB to do a commercial and sign some autographs in exchange for a car to cruise around town in and maybe a chunk of change. The local sports blog pays an athlete to do some promos on social media to up their following. That sort of thing.

And that’s where this all comes together. We here at The Pants do what we do as a labor of love. We love the Hawkeyes. We support them and we write about them and oftentimes we rant about them. But we don’t do it for enormous sums of money. So we are looking at a way to leverage this incredible community to help the Hawkeyes in a very direct way.

We are launching a Patreon page which will have multiple membership tiers. The funds spent for a membership will be pooled together and paid directly to University of Iowa student athletes via a partnership with Swarm Inc in exchange for the use of their name, image and likeness to help grow this community and perhaps get to know the athletes a bit better via podcast interviews, short video Q&As or good old fashioned digital print stories.

Nothing at this site changes as a result of this new endeavor and we are not pressuring anyone to sign up for anything. But if you have been looking for an opportunity to direct funds to Iowa athletes or help the Hawkeyes land transfers via the portal, this is a new avenue for you. The lowest membership tier is a lower monthly ask than that of Swarm and the funds will be distributed to individual players for services rather than pushed through the collective and distributed evenly across three sports.

If you are interested at all or just plain curious, click here to join the waitlist for the new page. It will be going live shortly once some back end things are handled, including launching a new Discord channel so members will be able to interact more regularly with the staff, and eventually athletes.

Now, anyone who signs up will have a demarcation on their SB Nation profile.* Anyone not joining will no longer be able to comment on stories here.** Anyone making disparaging comments about the staff, NIL or this plot to rule the world will be banned.*** But no pressure whatsoever - do what is right for you.

Go Hawks!

* - This is not true.
** - Also untrue.
*** - Once again, complete nonsense.

Seriously, nothing changes. We understand people have views on NIL and paying players. Feel free to express them. We also get a LOT of people want not part in this and NOBODY wants things stripped away from this site (well, except maybe the staff?). We are not intending on changing anything. But of course, we would welcome feedback if there is stuff that should change. Within reason.