JAMESTOWN — A new local nonprofit has formed to help Jamestown University men’s basketball players monetize their brands and capitalize on their name, image and likeness.
The Knight Club is an independent organization that will help student-athletes monetize their brands by promoting charitable causes and community service organizations and securing commercial name, likeness and likeness (NIL) deals, said Knight Club board member Brian Lunde. of directors.
“It’s really now to help them with their education expenses,” he said. “They could have three part-time jobs or work with our NIL collectors, which would also earn them compensation.”
He said the Knight Club would start as a 501(c) but eventually become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. He said it took the IRS about eight months to approve the organization as a 501(c)(3).
“We will be non-profit but in terms of tax deductibility, that first year you may not get a tax deduction,” he said.
Lunde said $2,000 to $3,000 can go a long way for a student-athlete in college. He said the Knight Club isn’t looking to give deals like some Division I schools, like the $9.5 million deal that recent University of Miami recruit Jaden Rashada received this summer.
The creation of the Knight Club is a great opportunity for UJ student-athletes to use their name, image and likeness to meet community partners and be compensated to pay for things not covered by university scholarships, said Luke Heck, an attorney on the Knight Club board.
“It’s an opportunity that’s being used across the country by top Division I athletes and it’s starting to kick in,” he said.
In a 2021 unanimous U.S. Supreme Court decision, NCAA v. Alston, the court ruled that student-athletes can start earning money in return for promoting charitable causes and endorsing of commercial products and services, Lunde said. Student-athletes are allowed to connect with community supporters to get NIL offers that benefit athletes and supporters.
A NIL Collective is a business or organization that researches and facilitates name, image and likeness opportunities for athletes at a specific university, according to the NIL Network website.
Lunde said student-athletes will be compensated for a combination of their time and value.
“So if they are well-known athletes, they will be more in demand,” he said. “They will draw attention to a charity or business that works with them. “
The Knight Club will connect student-athletes with charities and community service organizations who want the athlete’s help in furthering their causes through personal appearances, social media promotions, advertisements or other agreed activities. Lunde said the Knight Club, rather than the charity or civic organization, will compensate every player who participates in the program equally.
“It’s one of those things that the athlete can do good and get paid for their time and effort, because these players are very visible, very popular, and now they can get paid for helping others.” , did he declare. “I think with a lot of players it will never go beyond charity.”
It’s a win-win for players and charities, he said. He said the NIL collective pays for the player’s time and value working with charities and the charity does not have to find funds to pay for the promotion of the athlete.
“Charity wins and the NIL collective is the right conduit for all of this to happen,” he said.
The Knight Club, as a marketing advisor, will also help specific players earn NIL money by connecting them with local businesses that want athlete endorsement and promotion of their products or services. He said athletes can provide businesses with a variety of promotional services, including social media posts, personal appearances, print and broadcast advertisements, and enhanced media coverage.
Lunde said all administrative costs and legal fees involved in negotiating and securing an NIL contract between an athlete and a company will be paid for by the Knight Club. He said student-athletes will keep 100% of a company’s compensation if they use the Knight Club to facilitate a NIL deal.
The organization and its law firm, Ottmar & Ottmar PC, will ensure the Knight Club remains compliant with all NIL rules and regulations developed by the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics, Lunde said.
The Knight Club has a board of directors consisting of four members – Brian and Barb Lunde, Mindi Schmitz and Heck.
“We’re not going to be paid advice,” Lunde said.
Lunde said the Knight Club would start by helping only male basketball players. Eventually, the plan is for the Knight Club to help all student-athletes at the university.
“It’s one of those things that we have to walk before we can run,” he said.
The Knight Club will operate on donations. Lunde said anyone can donate any amount to the Knight Club, but the organization is looking for a minimum donation of $1,000 to create a pool of money large enough to work with charities so the Knight Club can pay the player for his time and value.
UJ president hopes university and Knight Club won’t fight over same dollars
As NIL collectives are established, it complicates decisions about recruiting and creating scholarships for athletes because this type of funding comes from an external source, said Polly Peterson, president of the University of Jamestown. As a member of the Great Plains Athletic Conference, UJ has an agreement that scholarships cannot exceed tuition, so the university does not offer scholarships for a student’s room and board. student-athlete, she said.
She said she hopes the university doesn’t compete with the Knight Club for the same dollars UJ is seeking. For example, UJ’s Jimmie Booster Club raises money to help support scholarships for student-athletes.
“I hope other charities in our community don’t have to compete with these collectives for those same dollars,” she said.
By having the Knight Club, she said it allows a portion of funds to be given to student-athletes at a decision-making level that does not include college. She said there will be two separate organizations raising funds for the same purpose – scholarships for athletes – and one must follow NAIA rules while the other is not limited by the rules. of the NAIA.
She said NIL collectives complicate scholarship programs when there are resources from outside the university.
Peterson said she supports a student-athlete’s right to earn a living or pay for the strengths they provide to another.
“That’s the whole operating principle of our capitalist society,” she said. “If you’re good at something and you’re appreciated and you have a great work ethic, then someone is going to pay you to come and work for them. … If a company in town wants to ask one of our student-athletes to come and advertise for us, they should be paid to advertise.
She said she was a strong supporter of the idea of amateurism in college athletics, especially at small and medium-sized colleges and universities that compete at the same level as UJ. UJ’s mission is to provide its students with a holistic experience that includes a commitment to quality academic experiences and extracurricular experiences such as athletics, performing arts, or student government, among others, to help students to learn outside of the classroom.
Knight Club will not meet rookies
Both Lunde and Heck have said the Knight Club will not meet a rookie. Heck said the Knight Club would not engage with anyone until the individual was a member of the varsity team.
“We’re not going to meet them because we’re just not going to go down the ‘Did they come because of the money they’re going to make’ route,” he said. “It may put us at a disadvantage, but I think we want to stay away from all that” “Do you use your NIL collective to recruit?”
Heck said he believed it would be a violation of recruiting procedures for the Knight Club to use NIL collectives as a recruiting tool.
“If you reach out to potential recruits and say we have these great opportunities with the Knight Club for that to supplement your scholarships and so on, I think that starts to look like bribes to recruit and pay money under the table and so on,” he said. “We seek to avoid this at all costs.”
Lunde said he is interested in how the Knight Club distributes its pool of funds within the team.
“It’s about helping the whole team,” he said. “… The collective allows the whole team to be helped so as not to lead to changing room problems. If you work with charities in our community, you will also benefit. No need to be a star to benefit from a NIL collective.