We’ve seen UT athletes making sponsorship deals with restaurants, retail and even crypto-created NFTs—and soon, a $10 million fund will help athletes further profit off of their name, image and likeness.
The Clark Field Collective is a $10 million fund set up by former Longhorn athletes, donors and sports marketer Nick Shuley to "ensure college athlete success year after year,", according to the funds' website. For the first time, Texas collegiate student-athletes have been able to profit off of their hard work and clout after a Texas bill was passed this summer. The Wednesday announcement is the latest in opportunities for UT athletes to make a profit off their name, image or likeness.
According to its site, the fund will look to accomplish four things: to "cultivate relationships with businesses, donors and fans," facilitate "opportunities in a compliant fashion," educate "college athletes on business" and protect "eligibility of college athletes." The fund was aided by former UT stars including former NBA player TJ Ford, who will serve on the board, former NFL safety Kenny Vaccaro and former professional volleyball player Juliann Johnson.
At the helm is new CEO Shuley, who has experience marketing for ACL and Bo Jackson.
“The University of Texas at Austin maintains the largest, wealthiest alumni donor base in the entire country,” Shuley said. ”It’s time a network like this existed to support our college athletes. The Collective is being established to make that happen.”
Collegiate athletes haven't hesitated in securing deals from T-shirts to chain restaurant sponsorships. Football star Bijan Robinson has done both with sponsorships by Centre Apparel and Raising Cane's, and he's also the first current Longhorn to create his own NFT—a kind of digital collector's item that serves as trading cards for the crypto world. More NFTs are on the way with NiftyHorns, which has created these digital cards for two Longhorn athletes and hopes to add the whole athletic roster in the future.
As of Oct. 25, Axios found that 175 NIL agreements had been disclosed with the university across a variety of sports—and perhaps surprisingly, softball sat at the lead with 33 signings thus far. The university has pitched in with a LEVERAGE program designed to educate student-athletes with "comprehensive programming around name, image and likeness to equip them with the knowledge and tools necessary to maximize their brand and platform."
The program also hosts a directory to connect athletes with potential companies. Meanwhile, a SurlyHorns program has introduced all tight ends to guaranteed four-figure earnings—even for walk-ons—through its new "Burnt Ends" program.
The Clark Field Collective will look to provide equal opportunities to all athletes and spread its funds to all sports.
“Our goal is to create something that becomes both the gold standard in the field, and a one-stop fund to be disseminated amongst all sports for NIL activities activated through: endorsements, autographs, appearances, and more,” Shuley said. “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.”
It's a fund they hope will extend far into the future—and in turn, attract new athletes to the university as schools across the country look to attract prospects with more than just what's on the field.
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Arch Manning, the latest prospect in the Manning football family and No. 1 recruit in the class of 2023, has committed to the University of Texas.
Manning is the nephew of Eli and Peyton Manning and the son of Cooper Manning, a former wide receiver for Ole Miss. The Manning football legacy began with Archie Manning, Arch Manning's grandfather and namesake who played for the New Orleans Saints throughout the 1970s.
Committed to the University of Texas. #HookEmpic.twitter.com/jHYbjBaF5K
— Arch Manning (@ArchManning) June 23, 2022
Manning joins head Texas football coach Steve Sarkisian's program after a disappointing 5-7 first season. Manning, who has been the starting quarterback at New Orlean's Newman High School since he was a freshman, was the No. 1 recruit in the 2023 class, according to 247sports.
Manning had plenty of SEC suitors, including Georgia, Alabama and LSU, but committed to Texas after a recent visit to Austin.
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The Lone Star Fugitive Task Force has found the Jeep belonging to Kaitlin Armstrong, the accused murderer of professional cyclist Moriah “Mo” Wilson.
Armstrong is suspected to have killed Wilson—who was visiting Austin for a race in Hico, Texas last month—in a crime of passion after Wilson met up with her short-term ex-boyfriend Colin Strickland.
The Task Force said the black Jeep Cherokee was sold to a South Austin CarMax dealership on May 13, one day after being questioned by the Austin Police Department, for $12,200.
Armstrong was spotted at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport the next day, en route to LaGuardia Airport, but officials said they lost her trail after she was dropped off at Newark Liberty International Airport on May 18.
Investigators were unable to find any flight reservations under the name “Kaitlin Armstrong” and believe she may be using her sister’s name, Christine.
The case has been designated as a U.S. Marshals Service major case, which brings in more resources to the investigation; officials consider Armstrong dangerous. According to an anonymous tipster, Armstrong became “furious,” when she found out about Wilson and Strickland’s meeting and wanted to “kill” her.
Authorities believe the longer Armstrong is evading arrest, the more dangerous she may become, so anyone who sees her is encouraged to call 911 instead of approaching her. A $6,000 reward, along with an additional $15,000 from an anonymous donor, has been issued for information leading to her capture.