From Gonzaga Athletics:
Gonzaga Athletics announces the creation of Next Level, a comprehensive program that will provide Bulldog student-athletes with the education and tools necessary to build and elevate their personal brands.
In working with both campus partners and external entities, Next Level, will focus on five key areas: personal brand management, financial literacy, business and entrepreneurship, social media, and NIL legislation. The program, which includes a new partnership with the industry’s leader in athlete brand-building INFLCR, is designed to empower student-athletes to capitalize on the Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) era.
“This moment is an important one for our student-athletes,” Gonzaga Director of Athletics Mike Roth said. “It’s exciting that we can empower them with the NIL legislation. Our Next Level program will be a great tool to educate the student-athletes. We are looking forward to our partnership with INFLCR. Their knowledge and technology will give us a great foundation to start this process for not only our student-athletes, but for our department as well.”
The Next Level programming will be created by industry professionals in collaboration with Gonzaga’s Athletic staff members. Additional partnerships will be announced in advance of the 2021-22 academic year.
“With the NIL opportunities coming in the near future, I am excited that we are giving student-athletes a real chance to build their brands,” GU Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mark Few said. “I’ve been a big believer in the NIL movement, and I’m proud that we can start helping our players capitalize on their potential.”
INFLCR, which features a digital platform, mobile app and dedicated INFLCR Plus team, now serves more than 1,000 NCAA collegiate athletic teams and is used daily by more than 40,000 student-athletes to access content from competitions, practices, travel and more.
“INFLCR’s partnership with Gonzaga Basketball launched successfully with their student-athletes utilizing our platform to build their brands and maximize the stage that came with their March Madness run to the national title game,” INFLCR Founder and CEO Jim Cavale said. “We are excited to build on this big start through powering their Next Level program with our NIL-focused products in INFLCR Verified and Plus. Gonzaga has become one of the premier brands in college sports and we are committed to providing the technology and support to ensure that they are putting the power of their brand into the hands of each student-athlete who comes through the Gonzaga Basketball program.”
Gonzaga’s men’s basketball is coming off the program’s second appearance in the national championships, after being ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll for the entirety of the season. The Zags’ national semifinal matchup against UCLA was the most-watched college basketball game of the season, peaking at 18.8 million viewers during GU’s thrilling overtime win. Following the men’s team run in March Madness, the program’s social media total engagement climbed to second in the country.
The Gonzaga women’s basketball team made its 12th appearance in the NCAA Tournament this past season. The Bulldogs claimed the West Coast Conference regular season title for the fifth-straight season, and the 17th in program history. In 2019-20, Gonzaga rose to its highest regular-season national ranking ever, securing a No. 11 AP and No. 10 ranking in the USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll.
Individualized education in Next Level’s five areas of focus will be provided to student-athletes in Gonzaga’s basketball programs to better prepare them to capitalize on their national reach.
“I am really glad we will be able to offer our student-athletes some guidance with the new NIL legislation coming out soon,” Gonzaga Women’s Basketball Head Coach Lisa Fortier said. “We have incredible student-athletes in our programs, and we want them to have every opportunity to maximize this movement to their benefit.”
Next Level will maximize the value of Gonzaga student-athlete’s brand now and be best prepared to benefit as soon as legislation allows them to do so.