With Michigan as the guide, we mapped out what it looks like for your college athletics program to have a unified NIL system for student-athletes, businesses, and collectives.
Michigan’s Executive Associate AD, Doug Gnodtke, discusses how important it is for Michigan to provide NIL resources to student-athletes.
Earlier this year, the University of Michigan became the 14th INFLCR client to add the INFLCR+ Local Exchange to their existing software partnership. In just the first few months of launching this new product, more than 25 of INFLCR’s 206 NCAA Division I multi-year software partners have now added the INFLCR+ Local Exchange for reasons that align with UM’s NIL strategy.
With the launch of their INFLCR+ Local Exchange, custom-branded as The VICTORS Exchange, UM Athletics’ overarching strategy was simple – centralize all NIL activity for everyone transacting with UM student-athletes, including Valiant Management, the UM-focused collective that has consistently provided financial opportunities to UM student-athletes in a multitude of ways since NIL began in July 1, 2021.
In addition to having Valiant register for the VICTORS Exchange, UM promoted this “online NIL Storefront” in a multimedia manner that led to more than 60 local and national companies registering within the first week.
When building your own blueprint for an NIL strategy, centralizing into one system is where you must start. The INFLCR+ Local Exchange provides a comprehensive technology infrastructure that can be used by all parties, without transaction fees.
Doug talks about why it’s crucial that Michigan provides a platform where businesses can communicate with their student-athletes.
University of Michigan Athletics’s Overarching NIL Strategy
Centralize All NIL Activity For Everyone Involved In Transacting With UM Student-Athletes
- Valiant Management (UM’s Collective)
- Local & National Companies Specifically Interested In Partnering With UM Student-Athletes
- Tech Marketplaces (ie. Cameo, OpenSponsorship, Player’s Trunk, Etc.
Meet The Student-Athletes Where They Already Are
Some institutions have attempted to internally build their own NIL directory for businesses and student-athletes. It has been challenging to get student-athletes to sign up, let alone for the institution’s athletic department to manage their own technology platform.
UM Athletics was very adamant that their VICTORS Exchange be an extension of a tech setting that UM student-athletes are already using regularly. The same app that student-athletes are using to build their personal brands, learn about NIL and disclose NIL transactions to compliance, is now the same app that Victors Exchange registrants (including Valiant Management) can use for direct communication.
It was also very important to UM Athletics that their VICTORS Exchange streamlines direct payments from registrants directly to student-athletes in exchange for their NIL services. A manual compliance disclosure process for student-athletes can lead to deals not being disclosed. All payments that flow to UM student-athletes through the VICTORS Exchange are automatically reported. This disclosure automation has exponentially increased UM Athletics’ compliance oversight, while ensuring comprehensive competitive data for UM coaches to communicate success stories to their current and prospective student-athletes.
Take Full Ownership
The University of Michigan Athletics Owns The System
Lastly, UM Athletics was adamant that the VICTORS Exchange was an annual software investment solely paid for by their athletic department and not paid for in any way by their collective (Valiant Management), their business community or the student-athletes. Owning the system and the data associated with it, is both a compliance and business responsibility that UM felt strongly about.
Eliminating any transaction fees was important for two reasons: first, transaction fees deter student-athletes and third parties (e.g. Valiant, local businesses, donors, etc.) from using the platform. This would prevent accurate data collection and defeat UM’s centralization strategy. Most importantly, it was ethically important to UM that they maximize the value provided to their collective, business community and student-athletes.
A Local Exchange perk: automated payments and no transaction fees.
Take Business Responsibility
Michigan’s System Is Paid For & Owned By The University
UM Athletics Pays Annual Software Fee For VICTORS Exchange
No Transaction Fees
- Free Service For Student-Athletes To Manage Their NIL Business
- Free Service For The Valiant Management Collective & Any Registered Companies To Find, Message, Pay & Report On Behalf Of Student-Athletes
- Eliminate Any Usage Deterrence Due To Transaction Fees
Maximized NIL Data
- For Compliance Oversight
- For Coach Communications
INFLCR contracts with the institution as a focused partner in the ongoing mission to empower student-athletes through a single NIL system – that is, the VICTORS Exchange – that provides the best possible free system for the Valiant Management collective, the entire business community, and the UM student-athletes to use for all NIL activity.
Other athletics departments are building their NIL system in similar ways, empowering their student-athletes to grow their NIL businesses. In fact, 10% of our partner institutions have already added an INFLCR+ Local Exchange platform and we expect more than 50% to establish their Local Exchange by the end of 2022.