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Seven major collectives forming association to ‘shape the development’ of NIL market

Seven of the biggest collectives in college sports are forming The Collective Association, which seeks to “advocate for student-athletes, share best practices and act as a unified voice to shape the development of the NIL market and beyond,” the group announced Wednesday.

“We just want to come together and start talking about solutions from the ground floor,” Spencer Harris told The Athletic. Harris is the executive director of House of Victory, a collective that works to benefit Southern Cal that is also one of the seven founding members of the group that goes by TCA.

One of the issues TCA hopes to solve is giving clarity to athletes, universities and other collectives when the NCAA’s rules surrounding NIL come in conflict with state laws that vary widely from state to state.

Last month, leaders from three of the member collectives — Classic City Collective (Georgia), Spyre Sports Group (Tennessee) and The Grove Collective (Ole Miss) — traveled to Washington, D.C., along with reps from Washington’s Montlake Futures and Clemson’s TigerImpact to meet with lawmakers and discuss the role of collectives and their interest in uniform NIL legislation.

The NCAA said in June their rules take precedence over any state laws surrounding NIL.

“That itself, right, wrong or however you feel, is clearly a problem and creates confusion for all parties,” Harris said. “Everyone is confused and doesn’t know how to operate. What we want to help do is create a potential framework for how we can all operate together.”

TCA also hopes to work toward having a verification process and registry of agents who are allowed to work with athletes. Currently, anyone can present themselves as an agent of a college athlete, unlike the NFL where agents must be registered with the NFL Players Association.

The partnership plans to “monitor real-time marketplace and compliance developments” to help inform universities and lawmakers about trends and data within the complicated, rapidly shifting NIL ecosystem.

They also plan to help develop a revenue-sharing model for athletes that would not require them to become employees, the release said.

“It may take one year, three years, five years, 10 years. I don’t know. But I think it’s really clear that it doesn’t make sense for student-athletes not to have a piece of these massive revenue opportunities that are all currently going elsewhere,” Harris said. “We don’t have the perfect model today but we want to come together and work toward creating solutions toward that concept of revenue sharing.”

In 2022, both the SEC and Big Ten’s schools combined to produce over $2 billion in revenue, according to data compiled by USA Today.

The collectives announced as TCA’s founding members are:

  • Classic City Collective (Georgia)

  • Spyre Sports Group (Tennessee)

  • The Grove Collective (Ole Miss)

  • The Battle’s End (Florida State)

  • House of Victory (Southern Cal)

  • Champions Circle (Michigan)

  • Happy Valley United (Penn State)

TCA is open to adding more members in the future, Harris said. They also plan to share how collectives and athletes have teamed up to use NIL and positively impact their communities across the country.

Collectives, which began forming in late 2021, shortly after players were first allowed to monetize their name, image and likeness, gather funds and enter into deals with athletes in exchange for a variety of services or appearances. Most of those deals are with current athletes but some can also be with athletes yet to sign letters of intent with football programs. Collectives are independent of universities but do work to benefit the athletes of the programs they represent.

Many of the deals they sign with athletes are worth six figures annually and some have risen to seven figures for especially valuable players, whose value depends greatly on their position, production or recruiting ranking.

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