Aggieland's NIL Age
Understanding the numerous ways to support name, image and likeness opportunities for Texas A&M student-athletes
By Ivy Robinson '20
Supporters of college athletics programs are being called upon to help meet name, image and likeness opportunity demand, while recognizing the influence NIL has on student-athlete success and competitive advantage.
In Aggieland, the infrastructure and support system are in place to cement Texas A&M as a leader within the NIL landscape. Today, there are three avenues for supporters to help achieve that goal.
TEXAS AGGIES UNITED
Supporters can help provide NIL opportunities for Aggie student-athletes through Texas Aggies United - the official NIL partner of Texas A&M Athletics. Powered by TexAgs, the organization unified the various Texas A&M NIL ventures to maximize opportunities for Texas A&M student-athletes while offering unique benefits and experiences for its supporters.
A familiar face at A&M - former head men's golf coach J.T. Higgins - is leading the charge as the organization's president.
“Texas Aggies United is committed to making a positive impact on our athletes and athletics department,” Higgins said. “Just as we have done in upgrading facilities, moving to the best conference, hiring the best coaches and recruiting at the highest levels, I know we are up to this challenge. We will put together the absolute best NIL program in the country.”
Higgins has witnessed firsthand the success NIL opportunities create for Aggie student-athletes.
“One of the best things I have seen come out of NIL is for our student-athletes who have a partial scholarship or no scholarship at all,” Higgins said. “The money from NIL helps cover the costs of their education, pay for room and board and relieves some of the financial pressure on their families.”
“One of the best things I have seen come out of NIL is for our student-athletes who have a partial scholarship or no scholarship at all. The money from NIL helps cover the costs of their education, pay for room and board and relieves some of the financial pressure on their families.”
“There are also many stories of athletes who go pro too early, do not make it and end up with little or no money and no college degree to fall back on,” Higgins continued. NIL gives them the opportunity to make decisions about their future that come from an informed, logical position rather than an impulsive, right now mindset.”
Since its launch in September 2023, Texas Aggies United has partnered with approximately 100 Aggie student-athletes across various sports and now officially owns their exclusive NIL rights.
Another well-known name in Aggieland and a former Texas A&M football standout Hunter Goodwin '96 is serving as an advisor of the Texas Aggies United Board of Directors.
“Texas Aggies United pursues our own sponsorship opportunities for all our licensed athletes, as well as partners with any marketing agency or direct sponsor who has interest in utilizing the NIL of any of our athletes,” Goodwin said.
Goodwin's experiences from five years as a college athlete, nine years in the NFL, three years as an active player union representative and a post-NFL career involvement with the NFL Players Association undeniably offers invaluable knowledge to the NIL conversation.
“I believe my wealth of relevant knowledge and experience allows me to bring a productive and contributory perspective to ongoing Texas Aggies United discussions as we do our best to effectively manage the current difficult, ever-changing and inefficient NIL landscape,” Goodwin said. “College sports are the front door to the Texas A&M University brand, and we need to ensure that front door remains intact, high-functioning and the best-in-class.”
Recurring and one-time contributions to Texas Aggies United can be directed to a specific sport, and membership benefits include exclusive student-athlete content, autograph sessions, meet and greets, exclusive gameday experiences and more. Businesses can also gain valuable marketing exposure by becoming a Texas Aggies United Corporate Partner.
Additionally, supporters who desire to engage with student-athletes directly can do so through the AMPLIFY Exchange, a student-athlete NIL registry designed for businesses and individuals seeking to connect with specific Aggie student-athletes. The exchange allows registered individuals and businesses to initiate conversations with Texas A&M student-athletes for NIL deal discussions.
Texas A&M Athletics established the AMPLIFY program to ensure Aggie student-athletes have an elite level of resources and support for navigating today's NIL environment. Specifically designed to help student-athletes build and promote their personal brands, AMPLIFY equips Texas A&M student-athletes with the necessary education, tools and training to help them successfully engage in and manage their personal NIL opportunities.
Through AMPLIFY, student-athletes receive training on topics like negotiation, digital content creation, financial literacy, networking, public speaking, social media etiquette, tax education and much more. The Adam C. Sinn '00 Academic & Wellness Center at the Graham Athletic Complex, funded through the Centennial Campaign, will contain offices, recording rooms and other interactive spaces dedicated to AMPLIFY initiatives.
12TH MAN FOUNDATION ANNUAL FUND
Supporters who want to help provide opportunities for Aggie student-athletes while receiving 12th Man Foundation membership benefits such as priority points and a tax receipt can do so by making a monthly, annual or one-time contribution to the 12th Man Foundation's Annual Fund.
These gifts are used to help provide Aggie student-athletes with a wide range of resources including academic support, athletic training, sports medicine and nutrition. They also fund the 12th Man Foundation's operating expenses including its marketing efforts to promote the charitable purposes of its mission.
Additional contributions allow the 12th Man Foundation to continue expanding its outreach through its engagement with marketing agencies. These partnerships coordinate the acquisition of current Aggie student-athlete talent to actively help the 12th Man Foundation further its reach, impact and mission via event appearances, promotional advertisements, title sponsorships and in-venue signage at athletic events.
Unrestricted Annual Fund contributions may not be directed to a specific area and have always supported the organization's marketing efforts.
“One of the Annual Fund's various uses is to help the 12th Man Foundation promote its mission to Aggies everywhere, and the best messengers for that mission are current Aggie student-athletes,” said Michael Solomon '04, senior vice president of annual fund and donor services. “With the onset of NIL, and through our work with outside marketing agencies, we are now able to create NIL opportunities for student-athletes that help build our membership base and support Texas A&M Athletics, so it is a win-win for everyone.”
ONE COMMON GOAL
All avenues of Texas A&M NIL support contribute to a common goal - to remain an elite competitor in college athletics by providing unparalleled opportunities for Aggie student-athletes.
“The student-athlete opportunities presented at Texas A&M are second to none,” said Mike Elko, head coach of Aggie Football. “To remain competitive in today's dynamic world of college athletics, it is imperative we recognize the importance of name, image and likeness opportunities and support those initiatives for our current Aggie athletes.”
For Texas A&M to be a leader in NIL, the 12th Man is called upon to do what the 12th Man does best - unite, stand and loyally support Aggie student-athletes to help them reach their fullest potential.
“NIL stands as a critical component for competitive viability in major college athletics,” said Travis Dabney, 12th Man Foundation president and CEO. “Embracing these changes is crucial to ensuring the continued success and advancement of Texas A&M's athletic programs.”
Visit 12th.info/supportNIL to learn more and make your impact on NIL opportunities for Aggie student-athletes today.