Stricklin explains how vital it is for UF to stay ahead of NIL
GAINESVILLE, Florida — The landscape of college football has never changed more drastically than over the past decade, beginning with the realignment of the conference, continuing with the evolution of the early signing period, the NCAA transfer portal , then the advent of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) reform.
Simply put, there’s a lot to take in.
Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin joined the talking alligator Thursday night radio show in Gainesville and provided a quote he repeated with his coaches in the face of these rapid changes.
“In times of dramatic change, learners inherit the earth, while scholars are beautifully equipped to face the world that no longer exists.”
Meaning: Adapt or get left behind.
One thing Stricklin repeatedly praised the new football coach Billy Napier as it is his voracious appetite for anything he can use to improve the process of building a championship football team in Florida.
First and foremost, Napier’s approach is to hire quality people and empower them to do their jobs. But the second part is understanding that everyone has a role to play. Fans are now included in this in a way that was not as solidly possible before the NIL reform.
“The NIL space is probably the most dramatic change we’ve had in college athletics since the inception of the NCAA,” Stricklin said. “Right where athletes, forever, NCAA put a wall around all the business opportunities for student-athletes, where they got their scholarship but they weren’t allowed to take or receive anything else.”
When the NIL rules first went into effect, dozens of Florida players began signing sponsorships. Security Donovan McMillon, receiver Jacob Copeland, defensive tackle Gervon Dexter, defensive tackle Desmond Watson strategist Emory Jones and others were among the first wave of players to take advantage of it. Strategist Anthony Richardson made waves when he signed an NIL deal that would be in the mid-six-figure range. He also signed a deal with Gainesville Dodge.
“The last six months here, they can go and do sponsorships,” Stricklin said. “They can make a deal with Regal (Celebration Pointe) or Spurrier’s (Gridiron Grille) and not only get free movie tickets, but real money.”
But as NIL has become more mainstream and players and businesses have adapted to the new reality, more formal groups have formed that allow athletes and fans to organize grassroots movements to bond with their players. favourites, while financially supporting these players.
“As a result, there’s something like the Gator Collective,” Stricklin said. “I think the University of Florida was the first school to formalize something. And again, it’s outside of the athletic program, it’s outside of college. But it’s a group directed by Eddie Rojas, this is for fans who may not have a business of their own, who are able to provide name, image and likeness opportunities to athletes, but want to help create opportunities . It’s a way of pooling resources and then the Collective will provide the name, image and likeness of the sponsorship to the youth and it’s for the benefit of the members. So it’s really a smart and creative idea.”
Swamp247 showcased Rojas and his take on the Gator Collective when it launched. Since then, the organization has grown to over 1,600 members and generated over $210,000 in recurring revenue for NIL offers.
Players frequently appeared on Twitter Spaces or in interviews hosted by the band, where they were able to interact directly with fans to give them real-life insight into the program.
“It’s a fascinating and really dynamic time and space,” Stricklin said. “I know one thing. Either way, the University of Florida has a chance to be really good at it. We want the best. We want a championship experience with integrity for our athletes. We want to do things the right way. We’re going to follow the rules.
“But we’re also going to create an amazing experience where young people can come and be part of a Top 5 public university and compete at a high level and win championships competing for the Gators.”