University of Texas Supporters Launch Eight-Figure NIL Program

A group consisting of University of Texas donors, former athletes, and sports marketer Nick Shuley announced the launch of an eight-figure NIL program, Clark Field Collective, on Wednesday.

The collective has secured an initial commitment of $10 million for Texas NIL (name, image and likeness) activities, “with the ultimate goal of having the largest dedicated fund in the country for college athletes.”

Unaffiliated with the university, the collective has been created in order to assist the school’s varsity athletes in cultivating and facilitating NIL opportunities in conjunction with businesses, donors and fans.

“It is the game-changer,” Shuley told ON3’s Eric Prisbell. “This is the program that Texas deserves, and if we’re going to do something at the University of Texas, it needs to be done right.”

Shuley, a veteran marketer who has run successful marketing efforts for names suchlike Bo Jackson and Lance Armstrong, will serve as the CEO with a Board of Directors composed of business leaders and former athletes associated with the university, including former Texas basketball player and nine-year NBA veteran TJ Ford.

“The best University in the country deserves an NIL program to match,” Ford said. “With Austin now home to some of the biggest businesses in the world, we knew there was an easy way to connect the business community to athletes while creating something that not only facilitates opportunity, but also educates and helps prepare them for life after sports.”

Shuley told ON3 that the collective hopes to be a “one-stop fund” to be spread across all sports for NIL activities, such as endorsements, autographs and appearances.

There is expected to be both a broad executive board and sport-specific boards. Ford, for example, will serve as a basketball board member.

“This plan will help ensure that all sports will have focused boards, leaders, and representatives to ensure their individual success in the NIL space,” said Shuley. “Businesses, donors, and fans can work with their sport/athlete of choice by executing proper legal NIL contracts.”

Expected to be a format easily copied by other schools with deep pockets, Texas finds itself in a powerful position with such a wide array of alumni support.

“We have a unique setup here at Texas where we have the biggest and best and most prominent donors, in my opinion,” Shuley told ON3. “That definitely sets us apart from other universities. There is no reason we shouldn’t line all that up so everyone benefits. . . . There are so many opportunities to work with some of the best brands just in our backyard.”

The news of this new collective comes shortly after Texas Athletics announced it would begin paying eligible student-athletes $5,980 per year, the legally established maximum after the Supreme Court’s decision in the Alston v. NCAA case. This is something expected to be adopted by the majority (if not all) schools in Power Five Conferences, but it’s clear schools with financial advantages could begin to further distance themselves from the pack in terms of recruiting. With the announcement of the Clark Field Collective, Texas continues to push the pace in that regard.

“This setup will ensure access to participation for all who are interested in this important opportunity,” added Shuley.

“The generosity and savviness of our donors has allowed us to launch with real financial backing. Through a multi-tiered approach beginning with the donors, followed by major brand participation and ultimately brand building, we will create something that allows for stability, sustainability and growth over the years at Texas.”

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Creed Ko
8 months ago

Big 10 schools need to cut sports last year bc they had no money. Now, booster money is going to sponsor athletes instead of the Athletic Dept… which mean less money for Olympic Sports… which means more programs cut… Mid-majors especially bc they will put everything into football/basketball hoping to get lucky so they might have a chance to balance the budget… NHL & NFL have a hard salary cap, and every team can compete (unless they are mis-managed – NY Jets, Buffalo Sabres, etc). There is great parity in those leagues. To an extent, college sports were close to this with scholarship caps. MLB has no hard cap so the same teams are in the playoffs every year… NBA… Read more »

Concerned Texas Fan
8 months ago

Well, I guess this is good for the student atheletes. I’m a big fan of UT myself. I didn’t go there, but I was born and raised in Austin, so they are my team by default. In any case, I’ve read on UT fan sites that two other big NIL deals from donors and etc have yet to be announced. This $10M is just a start. The 3rd NIL deal will be much bigger. TX has tons of billionaire boosters, several millionaires, and in a city like Austin with the types of businesses there…well I think we can all see where this is going. I forgot to mention the passionate fanbase which has already started through fansites funding NIL deals… Read more »

Steve Nolan
8 months ago

I mean, does anyone really think this is that much new money?

It’s not like boosters were shy about how crazy they spent money before, but now it’s just “legal” for them to do so directly and openly.

Meeeee
8 months ago

All the NIL accomplished was a way for boosters to pay players legally.

Qqq
8 months ago

The new weekly math…
20 hours in the pool + 10 hours of “voluntary” workouts + x hours of NIL appearance work = very happy kinesiology department chair

Bpob55
8 months ago

Amateurism in college sports is done

oxyswim
Reply to  Bpob55
8 months ago

Amateurism in college sports was drummed up as a way to avoid workers compensation for college athletes suffering devastating injuries. The concept dying in and of itself isn’t a bad thing. I just think the NCAA and member schools, fought for so long against the inevitable end that when it eventually came, they had no good solutions for how to implement something else equitable.

Horninco
Reply to  Bpob55
8 months ago

Schools will need to force kids to take a finance class to help them budget once their income goes down upon graduating 😂🤦🏻‍♂️

Mr. Pack
8 months ago

All this money just to be a 6 win SEC football team.

Horninco
Reply to  Mr. Pack
8 months ago

I don’t know, 10 years ago aggy fans told us that 6 SEC wins > 10 Big 12 wins….. so I think that’s a win?

and Texas won 5 games this year so get your facts straight buddy!!

Horninco
8 months ago

As a Texas alum I love this, as a college and HS sports fan I hate where college is going. Make no mistake, many schools will follow and would have even without Texas making the first move.

To the end of swimming, most of this money will go to Football, early news is that football players will receive a bulk of the money, not shocking as they create a bulk of the revenue, but representatives for other sports will have a chance to allocate money to their athletes.

This is donor money, not academic money.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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