Dec 2, 2021 - Sports

$10 million fund set up to lure athletes to University of Texas

University of Texas athletes play volleyball
Jhenna Gabriel of the Texas Longhorns hits a set against the Wisconsin Badgers. Photo: Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images

University of Texas donors, former UT athletes and sports marketer Nick Shuley on Wednesday announced the launch of a $10 million fund to bankroll name-image-likeness opportunities for student-athletes.

Why it matters: The Clark Field Collective, as it's known, is the latest salvo in a rapidly escalating arms race among boosters of top sports-playing universities to lure elite athletes to their playing fields.

  • A raft of new laws allows student-athletes to finally profit on their own names and images.

Officially unaffiliated with UT, Clark Field Collective has been created "to ensure college athlete success year after year," according to the new group.

What they're saying: "The best university in the country deserves an NIL program to match," former UT basketball player and nine-year NBA veteran TJ Ford, who will serve as a basketball board member for the new group, said.

"With Austin now home to some of the biggest businesses in the world, we knew there was an easy way to connect the business community to athletes while creating something that not only facilitates opportunity, but also educates and helps prepare them for life after sports."

  • Other former star UT athletes affiliated with the group include football player Kenny Vaccaro and volleyball player Juliann Johnson.
  • Shuley, who has handled marketing efforts for the Austin City Limits Music Festival, Bo Jackson and Lollapalooza, observed: “The University of Texas at Austin maintains the largest, wealthiest alumni donor base in the entire country."

Flashback: UT built a directory to connect boosters to students for potential sponsorship deals, as we reported previously.

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