KU’s 18 male basketball players advance on NIL


Kansas’ 18 male basketball players enter the brave new world of name, image, and likeness.

All 14 stock players and four walkons in the 2021-22 Jayhawks roster have signed contracts with 6th Man Strategies, LLC. It is a company run by former KU baseball players Matt Baty and Ryan Baty who will represent the players in their NIL efforts.

The NCAA recently approved a plan for all college athletes to earn unlimited amounts in their own unaffiliated college name, image and likeness transactions.

Matt Baty, who served as director of KU’s Williams Fund from 2016 to 2018, said in an interview with The Star that “Kansas basketball players should have huge opportunities ahead due to the loyal support of fans. , their strong personal markings and the power of the Jayhawk they portray on their chest.

“We are thrilled to be working with the Kansas athletes as they enter uncharted territory and have the first opportunity to earn money for their NIL. Representing a national brand, these athletes have the capacity to capitalize on a unique number of opportunities during their career. There are few brands like Kansas basketball in the country. Baty added, noting that the company’s long-term plan is to ultimately represent all KU athletes in all sports.

6th Man Strategies, which is not affiliated with Kansas Athletics, will help, according to Baty, players “navigate the evolving world of the modern student-athlete through personal branding, sales resources, public relations, tax strategy, legal and business advice. . “

The company selected Opendorse, an established NIL monetization and compliance platform, to streamline the NIL activities of KU athletes.

Opendorse technology, Baty reports, “will enable 6th Man Strategies to seamlessly provide opportunities for student-athletes to review, accept, complete and disclose all NIL activity, from pitch to payment, directly from their phone “.

It will also “ensure consistent and reliable practices,” Baty said.

Opendorse CEO Blake Lawrence said: “It’s no secret that KU basketball players are some of the most marketable of all college sports. It’s exciting that 6th Man Strategies is offering its representation to every KU student-athlete, to help all athletes maximize their NIL opportunities. Opendorse is dedicated to supporting Kansas athletes in this rapidly evolving NIL market with specially designed technology to help them capitalize on this moment and stay safe throughout the (NIL) journey. “

Matt Baty provided a few examples of how KU players could soon be making big bucks with their own NIL.

For example, some of the players plan to have their own website where Baty said that individual players can sell merchandise and “give fans the opportunity to get to know the players on a more personal level, their likes and dislikes. , the music they listen to, home life and other funny and not readily available information.

“We have a creative team working with them to create individual websites, brands and merchandise sites,” Baty said. “We want their fans to have a place to go to better understand who their favorite players are. One thing I have enjoyed the most is getting to know athletes on a personal level and learning what they want their fans to know about them. These young men are great people, of high character and have big dreams. We want to show who they are.

Baty said his company will seek out NIL opportunities for players in Lawrence, Kansas City and Wichita as well as nationally. Information will be available on 6thmanstrategies.com.

“The opportunities are open now. We’ve only scratched the surface and the opportunities have been plentiful so far, from local restaurants to national restaurants, from car dealerships to the national tech companies you see in the everyday world, ”said Matt. Baty. “What’s really exciting is the fun access players want to provide to the fan base. There are very limited (NCAA) restrictions on this. The student-athlete can make an appearance and be paid for their time and appearance.

NCAA rules state that a player must provide a serve in order to receive payment.

“You can’t just hand over $ 100 to David McCormack. He has to do something in exchange for the $ 100, sign an autographed item, make an appearance, or call your grandma and wish her happy birthday. said Baty.

Baty said 6th Man Strategies will soon announce the launch of “several platforms that will have a direct impact on Kansas basketball players.”

This will include the One Hundred Club, made up of 100 individuals and companies, and the Blue Blood Exclusive, a subscriber service that will contain exclusive NIL content direct from players to subscribers.

One hundred supporters can be individuals or businesses who donate $ 1,000 per month or $ 12,000 per year to belong to an exclusive club where you have access to exclusive gear and memorabilia, VIP events, dinners and to things like that, ”Baty said. “The program I am most excited about is Blue Blood Exclusive, a subscription-based site that will provide individuals with access to weekly newsletters, podcasts, exclusive player content and live fan interviews with players.”

Baty, who said his company would receive a “general agency commission structure,” said players needed NIL support.

“There is a lot of interest. When NIL was approved, some said, “Hey, I’m going to open up my social media DMs, say I’m available and that would be relatively easy to get (referrals).” It is not easy to generate income through NIL when their first job is to be a student-athlete. It’s hard to run a business when they want to stay on top academically and do all they can to earn for the University of Kansas, ”Baty said.

KU men’s basketball coach Bill Self declined to comment on players under contract with 6th Man Strategies. Coaches and other sports department officials cannot have anything to do with players negotiating their own NIL agreements. However, KU compliance officials are authorized to support players by answering questions about what is allowed and what is not.

In fact, KU’s “Ascend” program, instituted by athletic director Travis Goff, is designed to “help navigate the new NIL world”.

KU Compliance is allowed to discuss issues such as personal brand management, NIL protection, and KU resource engagement. An explanation of the program is available at kuathletics.com.

“Our guys are in a great position to benefit from their name, image and likeness and this program will put them front and center on this new day of varsity athletics,” Self said as “Ascend” was on. present. department has devoted countless hours and planning to this and has done a great job in making this program unique to the incredible resources we have here at KU. I really can’t wait to see our team use this resource to its fullest potential.

Self spoke about the importance for Kansas state players of being able to strike NIL deals last spring when the Kansas legislature failed to act by passing an NIL bill. Several other states have passed laws allowing players to negotiate their own NIL agreements. The laws became redundant when the NCAA allowed such transactions to take place in all schools.

“What people don’t understand,” Self told The Star last spring, is that “K-State, Kansas and Wichita State don’t compete against each other. We are competing against everyone who is equal in our leagues. How the hell can someone offer something you can’t? How is that a level playing field? This is what our three universities in our state will face if, in fact, some thing is not happening federally or within the NCAA in relation to that.

This story was originally published 1 October 2021 09:28 a.m.

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Gary Bedore covers all aspects of Kansas basketball for The Star – the current squad as well as former players and coaches and recruiting. He attended KU and was born and raised in Chicago, as well as Lisle, Illinois.

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