An NIL collective to benefit UND athletes will soon be announced

Mar. 11—GRAND FORKS — There will soon be a collective to benefit UND athletes through name, image and likeness (NIL).

An official announcement is expected by the end of the month that multiple leaders from the Grand Forks business community are partnering to launch a collective.

The collective will be designed to benefit athletes from any sport on campus.

Contributors will be able to specify where their money is going.

Details will be revealed in the official announcement, which could come as early as next week.

NIL collectives, organizations independent from universities, have popped up around the country and have become prominent at large institutions as mechanisms for paying athletes in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling in the Alston case.

In major college football, some athletes earn up to six figures.

Some UND athletes have benefitted from NIL deals for things like running camps with their names attached or being a spokesperson for a local business. But this is UND's first foray into the collective world.

UND's athletics department is aware of the collective and is expected to be supportive of its student-athletes pursuing opportunities.

UND has pushed the envelope in finding ways to remain financially competetive in the new era of college athletics.

This fall,

UND announced it was offering Alston Awards

to some athletes. Those are payments up to $5,980 annually for academic-based performances and retention. UND is spending about $1 million per year on that. Every athletic program on campus is receiving at least some Alston money.

UND also

offers full cost of attendance scholarships,

which includes stipends for needs outside of tuition like room and board, books and meals.

UND's collective will be designed to help attract and retain athletes.

The hockey team, for example, recruits against Big Ten programs that all have big-money collectives.

The football team recruits against Missouri Valley Football Conference programs that have announced collectives, including

North Dakota State,

South Dakota State, Southern Illinois and Youngstown State, while trying to retain its top players, who could be lured by FBS teams.

Some of UND's Summit League sports rivals also have announced collectives, including NDSU, SDSU, Omaha and Kansas City. The Summit teams also are trying to retain top players and attract new players.

The collective will be coming at a key time in the calendar.

The NCAA transfer portal will open to non-graduate in men's and women's basketball on March 18. It will open to non-graduates in men's hockey on March 31.