A new, non-profit foundation designed to help University of Maryland football players navigate NIL opportunities in community service and prepare for post-college careers was announced today.
The organization, dubbed The Best Is Ahead Foundation (TBIAF), said its mission is to create programs and initiatives in which Terrapin football players can inspire and enrich underserved youth in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. metro area through acts of service, volunteering, and partnership.
TBIAF will serve as the NIL collective for University of Maryland football players and is supported by donors including philanthropist Kevin Plank, the founder and executive chairman of Baltimore-based sportswear manufacturer Under Armour, and former Maryland football player.
In July 2021, the NCAA announced a new policy that allows student athletes from all three NCAA divisions to monetize the use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL). As such, companies can enter into endorsement agreements with players and compensate them for activities such as event appearances, social media posts, commercials, etc.
TBIAF differentiates itself by establishing a 501(c)(3) that is geared to provide benefits to non-profit organizations. Student-athletes will leverage their name, image, and likeness to promote and benefit these charities, bringing increased visibility and participation that would not have existed otherwise. TBIAF will also encourage student athlete education in the areas of financial literacy, wealth management, and entrepreneurship.
TBIAF will be led by Maryland businessmen Jeff Leventhal and former pro football player Dan Crowley. Leventhal's career spans 27 years as a successful wealth manager for high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurs, and business professionals in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. metro area. Crowley has served for the past 11 years as a senior administrator for Towson University Athletics. He also played nine seasons in the Canadian Football League with teams in Baltimore, Montreal, Edmonton, and Ottawa (Ontario). Both men were born and raised in the metro area and are passionate about Maryland football and athletics.
"TBIAF was born out of the desire to accomplish two fundamental goals," said Leventhal. "The first is to help Maryland football players with NIL opportunities. The second is to help the athletes serve the needs of their community in positive, consequential, and constructive ways."
Crowley added: "The simple fact is that NIL opportunities for college players are not even remotely the same as they are for those who reach the National Football League, and only a small percentage of college players turn pro. We want to help those players who do not go that far understand how to make the most of their college years and how to prepare for life after football."
Concerning their first goal, Leventhal and Crowley said the TBIAF will focus on getting Terrapin players involved in four levels of community programs and initiatives:
Gun Violence Education.
Mental Health Awareness.
Drug & Alcohol Prevention.
"Playing football at Maryland opened so many doors for me beyond the field," said Plank. "I'm proud to support The Best is Ahead Foundation, not only because it will help players navigate the new world of NIL, but because of its focus on teaching players that there is a great deal more to life than football. Community involvement should be high on their list of priorities."
MORE ABOUT THE BEST IS AHEAD FOUNDATION
The Best Is Ahead Foundations (TBIAF) mission is to partner with the University of Maryland football players to work with the youth in our community to build a better tomorrow. As a registered 501c3, we are committed to raising funds that focus on community service initiatives for the University of Maryland football players. TBIAF was founded with a purpose to serve the underprivileged youth in the Baltimore and Washington D.C. Metropolitan areas while focusing on four key initiatives while using the Name, Image, and Likeness of the University of Maryland football players. The four building blocks to our purpose are curbing gun violence, decreasing drug and alcohol dependency, assisting with mental health awareness, and literacy improvement within the community.