If you're of the mind that boosters offering NIL deals explicitly to improve their favorite football team represents a doomsday scenario, well, it's time to start hoarding canned goods and bottled water.
South Florida businessman Dan Lambert is offering 90 Miami football players a $500 a month contract to endorse American Top Team, his chain of MMA training gyms scattered throughout the region.
If every player accepts the deal and endorses the gym for a full year, Lambert's total outlay will be $540,000.
Going beyond this deal, Lambert founded Bring Back The U, an organization designed with the aim of arranging NIL deals for Hurricanes players.
"The NIL legislation is an amazing opportunity for businesses and fans to directly impact the lives of these players and the national reputation of our team," Lambert told CaneSport, who broke the story. "I originally planned to just enter into deals with a few players and then it hit me that there is a way bigger play here. With the right contacts, effort and financial commitment, we can reach every player and get this city firmly behind this team where it should be. We can BRING BACK THE U."
Lambert hired former Hurricane Kendrick Norton to recruit businesses to join BBTU. Miami native and MMA fighter Jorge Masvidal shot this PSA for the organization.
If done right, BBTU will essentially become an external development arm of the athletics department. The U has its own development staff to raise funds for the athletics department, and BBTU will raise funds for the players are the athletics department.
If you're in fundraising or compliance at Miami, one could understand why that arrangement might make you a little queasy. Heck, the arrangement makes me a little queasy, and I have no skin in the game. College athletics has been one run way for more than a century, and then a week ago it flipped. This will all take some getting used to. BBTU, and the athletes it represents, might end up competing for the same sponsorship dollars that The U has counted on to help fund the department those athletes play for.
But the end goal of Lambert and his BBTU organization is to provide value for the South Florida business community, Hurricane athletes and Miami athletics.
That sounds like capitalism to me.