5 July 2022
By Julian Basena
MINNEAPOLIS — The new name, image and likeness rules of the NCAA have introduced an enticing landscape of college sports. This July, the University of Minnesota football team will be the latest to enjoy the novel freedom of the collegiate sports scene.
At the start of the month, a collection of players of the Gophers’ football team launched “Twin Cities NIL Club,” a membership-based community for fans that offers “access and support” to players “like never before,” the group said.
About 75 players have signed on to be a part of the club that will debut as fall camp nears.
A $199 access pass grants members exclusive access to benefits that include: a meet and greet with the team, NIL Club members-only tailgate, opportunities to participate in an online community to engage with players and access to player-created content.
“We are going to give our fans a lot to be excited about this year. We are counting on them to show us some love,” defensive lineman Jah Joyner said.
One-thousand passes were available at the start of July and the sales of each purchase will evenly support every player in the program. Working alongside a company called Yoke Gaming, the Gophers worked to construct a player-led model that allows everyone — especially lesser-known athletes — to benefit from endorsement opportunities. It was a development effort that sought to emulate the nature of the program’s culture.
“Some NIL deals can be very individually based,” quarterback Tanner Morgan told the Star Tribune. “What’s cool about this is that it’s really just a team platform where we can make it what we want it to be, and it’s not something that’s going to distract us from our vision and goals.”
Separate from the Twins Cities NIL Club, there are 24 football players who are involved in NIL deals.