Syracuse NIL - update to a previous post

A month or so ago I posted an idea from a former co-worker of mine who is an SU alum regarding NIL. It generated some discussion, so I thought I would paste his recent update to the program he is working on.

"As I imagine everyone is aware by now, I am part of one of the largest and most fervent football tailgate groups at Syracuse University. Our Fine Mess Tailgate holds court before every home football game in the Henry Street lot and travels to several road games annually as well.
In the new era of college sports with student athletes now able to cash in on their name, image and likeness (NIL) the landscape of amateur athletics is evolving at breakneck speed. Rampant abuse of the new guidelines, which prohibit using these deals in recruiting or as inducements to transfer, have subverted the noble intentions of this initiative and has completely overshadowed its intent.
A group of us were texting about these developments and I joked that we should each throw in a few bucks and sponsor a player to serve as the name and face of our tailgate. Apparently, not everyone considered this a joke, and we soon had several hundred dollars in pledges to launch the project. Our objective was to identify a somewhat under the radar player who would not be likely to cash in on major NIL opportunities and show support and appreciation. We reached out on our syracusefan.com message board and had an overwhelming response that not only led to over $10,000 in pledges but realized a 99% rate in submitting the pledged amount.
Using the INFLCR platform that Syracuse University we canvassed about two dozen candidates asking them to respond and indicate why they felt they were the perfect face for our project. We received about a dozen responses including a few that touched on community involvement, a deep passion for Syracuse and a maturity beyond their years,
As a result, we are retiring the Fine Mess Tailgate name and on September 3, 2022, prior to Syracuse’s opening season game against Louisville we will debut:
Enrique’s SyraCRUZ Tailgate!
Enrique Cruz is a highly recruited offensive lineman from suburban Chicago who is known as a consummate teammate and has worked in his home community with charities supporting disabled children and breast cancer patients. He is excited for this opportunity to help spread his name in Syracuse so he can find similar projects here in Onondaga County. With the money we raised we were able to fund a second, smaller stipend that we decided to use as a kind of lifetime achievement award and made an offer to the Rhino, Chris Elmore. We will explore some merchandising ideas – T-shirts, koozies, autographed photos, etc. that we will sell at our events and split the profits with our adopted players. Finally, we are considering inviting a different student athlete from sports other than football to stop by our tailgate to meet fans, talk about their sport and potentially sign autographs in exchange for a small appearance fee.
While this initiative has proven to be very exciting and a rewarding experience to date, it was never our intention to launch a stand-alone program. We’re challenging the other large tailgate groups at SU to mimic our efforts and support other deserving student athletes. Let’s see who steps up!"
 

CDB

Well-known member
Danny, it is so important that BC pays each player some -- like USC is trying to pay each football player that does not land a large NIL deal a stipend of about $500/month. Why? First they think it is fair to pay them about $6,000 a year -- but most importantly because it will eventually cause problems if you have some kids driving luxury cars around campus with tons of spending money while most of the kids walk and cannot afford a date or to buy a pizza. If BC is unwilling to do this or at least try to raise those funds -- it just hang 'em up and go Club Football.

I think we alumni could make something happen -- as if it obvious that the school is not going to do anything and most of the reporters are management friendly.
 
Agreed. What is the name of the main booster club at bc? I recall seeing them at parents weekend selling old bowl game tee shirts before the game. Are they doing anything to jump start this?
 
Danny, it is so important that BC pays each player some -- like USC is trying to pay each football player that does not land a large NIL deal a stipend of about $500/month. Why? First they think it is fair to pay them about $6,000 a year -- but most importantly because it will eventually cause problems if you have some kids driving luxury cars around campus with tons of spending money while most of the kids walk and cannot afford a date or to buy a pizza. If BC is unwilling to do this or at least try to raise those funds -- it just hang 'em up and go Club Football.

I think we alumni could make something happen -- as if it obvious that the school is not going to do anything and most of the reporters are management friendly.
Okay, here is the official article from the Syracuse papers.

Fans tailgate before Syracuse vs. Rutgers at the Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y., Saturday Sept. 11, 2021. Scott Schild | sschild@syracuse.com


By Emily Leiker | eleiker@syracuse.com
Syracuse, N.Y. — When Mark Cupelo first floated his NIL deal idea to his Syracuse football tailgating buddies, he thought most would take it as a joke.

Cupelo spends fall Saturdays tailgating in the Henry Street Lot, formerly known as the Fine Lot, with a group known as the “Fine Mess Tailgate.” But what if, Cupelo proposed, the group chipped in money so it could rebrand the tailgate to be named after a current Syracuse player?


His message, which he initially sent to a smaller text chain of friends, got a few thumbs up, a few “ha-has.”


“Then one of the guys said, ‘I’ll throw a hundred bucks in,’ ” Cupelo said. “A couple others did, and we had a few hundred bucks all of us. I said, ‘You know what? Maybe this isn’t a joke. Maybe this is something that’s actually feasible.’ ”


Cupelo took the idea to the message boards on SyracuseFan.com. Over 50 donors ended up raising a total $10,332 to use for an NIL deal to rebrand the tailgate. As of Thursday, the “Fine Mess Tailgate” has officially rebranded to the “SYRACRUZ Tailgate,” named after redshirt freshman offensive lineman Enrique Cruz Jr.


Cruz is guaranteed $5,000 up front. As part of the deal, Cruz will provide 3- to 5-minute welcome videos for each tailgate and autographed pictures that can be sold. Cupelo said they’re also planning on doing T-shirts and other merchandise. Half of the profits from autographs and merchandise will go back to Cruz, while the other half will be used to make sure Cupelo and company can give this opportunity to another player in 2023.


When deciding which player to partner with, the selectors prioritized younger players with several years of eligibility left. They wanted someone a bit under-the-radar who is still establishing their personal brand at the university and in the community.


“We think Sean Tucker’s gonna be fine,” Cupelo said.


Cupelo used the INFLCR (pronounced “influencer”) platform to reach out to 24 players on behalf of the group. INFLCR, which Syracuse University expanded its partnership with last month, is a company that helps connect potential NIL sponsors with student athletes, among other things.


Those looking to strike up NIL deals with athletes fill out a short application, and, once approved by SU’s compliance office, then are free to communicate directly with and propose deals to athletes.


The biggest question Cupelo had was how payments would be issued and what the tax ramifications would be. But INFLCR takes care of that, too: NIL sponsors submit money to the platform, which then distributes it to players and issues 1099 forms at the end of the year.


“That really eased my mind quite a bit,” he said.


Out of the players Cupelo reached out to, about 10 responded.


Cruz’s response stood out. He talked about wanting to grow his impact in the community and the charity work he’s done back home in Chicago, providing recreational opportunities to children with disabilities and raising money for Making Strides Against Breast Cancer.


“That really stood out,” Cupelo said. “He was very respectful in his response. Some of the guys said like, ‘Well I’m gonna be the star (player) on the team this year.’ And that’s not really what we were looking for.”


Cupelo said the group couldn’t pass up on also extending an offer to one upperclassman who’s been a pillar of the Orange program.


It’s paying redshirt senior fullback Chris Elmore $1,000 as a secondary sponsor. He’ll also appear in some videos for the tailgate and sign some footballs to be used in raffles that the group uses to raise money for local charities.


Finally, the group is going to offer a $500 one-time payment each week to a non-football athlete. That athlete will have the opportunity to speak about their program, sign autographs and interact with fans at the SYRACRUZ tailgate.


Cupelo hopes what he and his friends have done can become a model for other tailgating groups and impact more athletes. Though he praised the different projects and education Syracuse itself is doing around NIL, he thinks more can be accomplished.


“We’re challenging the other tailgates out there and the other groups to mimic what we’re doing,” Cupelo said. “If they want to pick up the mantle, they can find me on Facebook, reach out. I’d be happy to share maybe some best practices and lessons learned that we’ve had along the way.”
 
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CDB

Well-known member
I hope there are some young grads will see the opportunity brought on by NIL, not only to help Boston College, but to build careers that can and will be very successful money-wise. My time is past, but if I were a recent grad with business acumen, I would be on this like a bunch of guys surrounding the pretty girl at the beach. Especially as it becomes more and more obvious that the present admin has either the inclination of talent to do so. I have watched similar groups spring up at TAMU and TX (I live in Texas) and they have so successful the universities quickly reached out to support them. I believe it is our only chance -- have alumni take the reins and do what the school should have been doing.

I will so much miss this board -- but, if BC does not remain relevant, how important will boards like this one remain. thanks for posting and keeping us all aware and tuned in. CUSE is in much the same position as BC (except they have a meaningful basketball program) and they will compete with us for existence.

ciao
 
That’s nice or we could consider raising money for a local food bank to help those people that are actually in need. These kids will be fine especially at BC, if your first job as a BC grad is less than $85,000 a year than you really messed up. As much as i would love BC to be like an Alabama or at the very least an Oregon; it just won’t happen. Boston is a professional sports town. The great thing about BC is that if you don’t make the pros, you can still make an excellent living off of the academic excellence, at Alabama if you don’t make the pros, you’ll probably be selling insurance making $47,000 per year. I think in the grand scheme of things we should be throwing our money towards a much bigger cause than to kids playing a sport especially at BC who will not have any student debt and will be making close to $100,000 a year as a new grad. But again, I am no Communist and what ever you decide to do with your money is your choice. You do what you think is best with your money. Have a great day everybody!
 

CDB

Well-known member
True, Danny, but at Notre Dame you will earn a degree from a school ranked higher academically than BC. At many of the really good football teams you can earn a degree that will give you the same expectations as a BC degree. But those schools have found or our finding ways to live in the NIL world.
 
That was ObSoAfC comment, not mine. I feel people should donate to whatever cause they want to. There is a school where I live, Binghamton University. An anonymous donor, who loves baseball, donated $60M to the baseball program to completly redo/ rebuild all of the baseball facilities. Some people felt is was a terrible use of funds, but they were not the ones who earned the money to give.
 

CDB

Well-known member
AJ said today that someone had donate money for BC to hire a sailing coach. The reality is that all state universities have gotten better academically caused by the huge cost of private colleges, folks are applying to their state universities to pay no more than 1/3 the cost. But, because of this only the best students are being accepted. I have a good friend whose daughter graduated from Alabama but lived out of state and she had to have straight A's to get in. Since BC's acceptance rate has gone from high twenties in 2020 to around 16% this year's entering class, our mid-thirties national ranking in academics should start to grow back to it was before the present administration took over. Then, we can crow again about the value of our degree. But seriously, Michigan, NC, Ohio State, ND, USC, UCLA, etc. provide a great education and they do so, while fielding football teams and figuring out ways to fund NIL. I think we need to dismiss these arguments that claim it is okay to be mediocre because we are so vastly superior to some of these other schools in academics. Moreover, BC has many students who seek to do a vocation that is serviced oriented -- and working social work or for non-profits is not going to pay the same as some of the other jobs.

I think we all are on board and would never want BC to to do anything that would threaten our academics.
 
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