If you wondered how long it would take for a college athletics booster to offer a six-figure name, image and likeness deal to an entire football team, the answer is officially "less than a week". That figure is actually $540,000, and it's coming courtesy of a South Florida businessman with the recipients being the Miami Hurricanes football team.
Dan Lambert said in an interview with CaneSport that he is offering Miami's 90 scholarship football players $500 monthly contracts to help promote his well-known American Top Team mixed martial arts training academies, most of which are scattered throughout the state. Players can earn up to $6,000 a year by promoting the gyms through social media, personal appearances and other marketing tactics.
Oversight for the offer is through Lambert's marketing company, the appropriately named "Bring Back The U", which will essentially arrange NIL deals for Hurricanes players.
"The NIL legislation is an amazing opportunity for businesses and fans to directly impact the lives of these players and the national reputation of our team," Lambert told CaneSport. "I originally planned to just enter into deals with a few players and then it hit me that there is a way bigger play here. With the right contacts, effort and financial commitment, we can reach every player and get this city firmly behind this team where it should be."
The half-million-dollar offer is the first eye-popping number in the NIL era, even if the per-player sum ends up being significantly less on a month-to-month basis. How BBTU effects fundraising efforts at Miami could be an interesting development as well since the university is officially competing for the same dollars that could go straight to its players through endorsement deals.
"There are improper ways of fans supporting their players, and now there is a legal way to do it," Lambert told ESPN. "And if there is a legal way, and you can dot the I's and cross the T's, I'm going to do it."
But this is the NIL era. It's vastly different than how college athletics was previously run, and this new balance is going to take time.
Since Florida was the first state to pass an NIL law with a July 1 start date, this moment has been coming for a long time. Now that it's here, schools will have to figure out how to navigate these deals through the NCAA's temporary NIL waiver.