Dinkytown Athletes Named Official NIL Collective of Gopher Athletics

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Dinkytown Athletes Named Official NIL Collective of Gopher Athletics

The University of Minnesota athletic department and its exclusive multimedia rightsholder, LEARFIELD's Gopher Sports Properties, announced today that Dinkytown Athletes is the Official NIL Collective of Gopher Athletics.

Dinkytown Athletes launched in 2022 and is affectionately named after the historic and adjacent neighborhood to campus. It had previously operated as an independent collective with the mission to support student-athletes at Minnesota with name, image and likeness (NIL) opportunities, educational resources and post-graduation career opportunities.

"We are very excited to officially partner with Gopher Athletics," said Rob Gag, who is the Vice President of Dinkytown Athletes. "This would not have been possible without the support of our members and donors. There are many exciting things to come, and this is just the beginning."

Today's announcement also brings additional connectivity and synergy between Athletics, LEARFIELD and Dinkytown Athletes. In addition to being named the Official NIL Collective of Gopher Athletics, Dinkytown Athletes now has access to use official University marks, logos and images. Fans will also see traditional marketing efforts on behalf of Dinkytown Athletes in the form of radio spots, email marketing and display and banner advertisements.

"I have been very impressed by Rob Gag and Derek Burns and how they have operated Dinkytown Athletes," said Greg Gerlach, Vice President & General Manager of Gopher Sports Properties. "It is clear to me that their integrity, vision and energy for assisting Gopher student-athletes outside of their area of competition is genuine and built for long-term success. Our team has enjoyed working with Dinkytown Athletes, and we look forward to continued opportunities to highlight and support the growth of the personal brands of our Gopher student-athletes."

Dinkytown Athletes enables every Minnesota fan and local business to support the NIL opportunities for Gopher student-athletes. There are numerous membership packages for fans to join Dinkytown Athletes, which range from $10/month to $500/month. Fans who sign up to support Dinkytown Athletes will receive exclusive benefits like access to exclusive interviews, personalized videos, signed memorabilia, annual discounts to the Dinkytown Athletes store and much more.

Companies like Unilever and Cub and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota have also found great success partnering with student-athletes to spotlight the next generation of female leaders and to highlight the importance of mental health. Gopher Sports Properties does not represent student-athletes, but on behalf of the university, is actively engaged with these and other brands to maximize their athletics sponsorship when paired with student-athlete NIL.

Jeremiah Carter, who was recently named Sr. Associate AD for NIL/Policy and Risk Management, will work heavily with Dinkytown Athletes in his new role to help amplify the efforts and awareness of opportunities presented to Gopher student-athletes.

"Since their launch in August, it has been great to watch the growth of Dinkytown Athletes and the support they have been able to provide to student-athletes," said Carter. "Today's announcement marks another major step forward and will enable them to continue to provide a tremendous experience for their members, donors and student-athletes."

To learn more about Dinkytown Athletes or to become a member, fans can visit dinkytownathletes.com.

Go Gophers!!
 

This is great; however, if Dinkytown Athletics does not allow me to decide the individual athlete or which athletic team my donated dollars support, then I’m not joining. I’m a football fan first, I want my donation to go to the football team. I hope they make this the case as they build the platform out.
 

my question - how does Dinkytown Athletes co-exist with other U of MN fundraising efforts?

and how do donors then decide which group or fund to support - the NIL fund - the Golden Gopher Fund, etc?

maybe I'm dead wrong. But there are only so many donors and so much money available. by tying the NIL fund directly to the athletic department, I think you do run the risk of robbing Peter to pay Paul. i.e. someone may give to the NIL fund instead of the Golden Gopher fund.

the key - IMHO - will be finding a way to unlock or locate new donors who have not been giving to the U of MN, or getting existing donors to increase the amounts they give. in other words, bake a bigger pie as opposed to cutting the old pie into smaller pieces.
 


my question - how does Dinkytown Athletes co-exist with other U of MN fundraising efforts?

and how do donors then decide which group or fund to support - the NIL fund - the Golden Gopher Fund, etc?

maybe I'm dead wrong. But there are only so many donors and so much money available. by tying the NIL fund directly to the athletic department, I think you do run the risk of robbing Peter to pay Paul. i.e. someone may give to the NIL fund instead of the Golden Gopher fund.

the key - IMHO - will be finding a way to unlock or locate new donors who have not been giving to the U of MN, or getting existing donors to increase the amounts they give. in other words, bake a bigger pie as opposed to cutting the old pie into smaller pieces.
I would think one is more for access to athletes, with NIL like CUB and BCBS of MN are looking to do. The other is going to be more of general donations that aren't directed towards NIL. I agree that it may have some rob Peter to pay Paul, but there are likely companies that don't give to the scholarship fund that would to a NIL fund because they could get some endorsements back in return.
 


I would think one is more for access to athletes, with NIL like CUB and BCBS of MN are looking to do. The other is going to be more of general donations that aren't directed towards NIL. I agree that it may have some rob Peter to pay Paul, but there are likely companies that don't give to the scholarship fund that would to a NIL fund because they could get some endorsements back in return.
I'm not getting why a big company would go through a collective. If they are looking for athletes to do spots or appearances for them, wouldn't they use their own marketing people to decide who they want, and then make an agreement with the athlete? I was just assuming the collective was a way for donors who don't have the resources to employ their own athlete to put money toward a fund to get NIL cash to players. It does not seem like this is a mechanism for people and organizations who are really looking for someone to rep their products or organizations.
 



Is this why all the fights are happening in Dinkytown? Kids chose the wrong NIL Collective and are upset about it?

Maybe we will get Men's Gymnastics back....
 



Listened to this today. One thing that jumped out at me was Gag's
belief that pay-for-play is clearly against the rules, and those who are doing it will eventually be penalized. I doubt they will, but that's obviously one of our collective's guiding principles.
That sounds like a nice way to say we don't have a ton of money to be throwing around.
 

Okay, I hoped I'd feel differently but I spent the 50 minutes listening and learned the following:
#1 At Minnesota it is not pay for play. There has to be an action for the player to get money. Can't give athletes money for nothing is their belief.
#2. NIL has nothing to do with recruiting. It is about the people who are on campus already.
Coaches can use examples about what others players have received. We have 9 months of examples. We have represented 50 or 60 athletes. Birthday parties, meet and greet, charities, autographs, videos kind of thing.
#3. "Players really, really appreciate $10 per month. It makes a difference."
#4. Dinkytown brings together fans, donors and athletes...clearing house.
#5. Fortune 500 companies or companies is not the answer. Dinkytown is grass roots. We need people to contribute $10 a month. "NIL at Minnesota is up to fans." Going to take time. Competing in a way with Gopher fundraising....this new and additional.
#6 Happy to work with Gopher Sports Properties so in publicity the players can wear branded gear vs generic.
#7 Compliance, compliance...we follow the rules. Bookkeeping etc etc Doing things the right way.
Over and over. No violations.
Saban is bad! Fan base doesn't give money to Dinkytown the team will be bad on the field. It's up to us to make a difference.
That's the podcast.

So for me:
Nothing about teams...can a team's players get $1,000 a month? Working on that?
Nothing on goals of what we are trying to accomplish apart from 10,000 people giving $10 a month.
No idea what the $10 a month goes for? "Can't just give athletes money". They have to do something to be compliant. So? Dividing the money up to ALL athletes? Can I designate money to football? Can I designate money to a specific player? (I think so if I hire them, but it didn't come up directly.)
Absolutely, no emphasis on finding deals for specific athletes.
Absolutely, no discussion of agents.
Absolutely, no discussion of players representing themselves and excelling. Not one success story articulated beyond birthday party bookings by Dinkytown.

It will help I'm sure. How much?
 
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Here's what I think is the bottom line. The players making big money on NIL are for the most part good...real good likely. Either in high school or in college.

So at Minnesota, until we get a star player to emerge on campus we have less chance to hold up an example of big NIL money because we have no incoming deals lined up for 5 star recruits to entice them. It sounds like it is legal to give them big money once they are on campus.

So, if/when we get a big time guy on campus we need to get them big NIL money to use as an example!
Is Spann Ford that guy? We need a pioneer.

At the least we need to get somebody on campus with a massive social media following who maybe wants a marketing degree to lead the way for everybody. Helpful if they could play a little but we need a big dollar example with a template more than anything. LSU girls got the formula along with boosters who primed the pump.

New recruiting category...who can most likely pioneer our NIL program for the good of the team?
 




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