It is a new era of college sports, one where student-athletes are able to leverage their personalities and their platform in a unique way.
And with the dawn of Name, Image and Likeness (NIL), student-athletes are looking to maximize their potential to bring in revenue and capitalize on their stage. For Rutgers student-athletes, that is where the Knights of the Raritan (KTR) comes into play.
Launched on Thursday, KTR has the stated aim of “empowering Scarlet Knight student-athletes to achieve their greatest potential in the classroom, on the playing field and in life. The collective seeks to enable them to maximize their NIL opportunities the right way, without compromising the values of the university.”
The all-volunteer organization is comprised of Rutgers alumni, fans and corporations that are aiming to maximize the exposure of the student-athletes within the framework of NIL.
Subscription models provided by KTR means that fans can get involved for as little as $10 monthly.
Nine supporters of the Rutgers athletic fanbase make up the executive committee overseeing the NIL collective: Jon Newman, Al Reicheg, Danny Breslauer, Jeff Towers, Scott White, Ken Miller, Jerrold Colton, Russ Nesevich and Ryan Stryker.
As part of the collective’s launch this week, Breslauer, spoke with ‘Rutgers Wire’ about KTR, its impact and goal and how it aims to help shape the future of Rutgers athletics.
Oh, and Breslauer is a passionate supporter of Rutgers athletics and is a former voice of Scarlet Vision:
Throwback Friday, eh?
Check out what Breslauer had to say about the newly launched NIL collective, the Knights of the Raritan.
Breslauer on how Knights of the Raritan got started
“When NIL was first given the green light, Jon Newman and I knew we wanted to do something with The Scarlet Spotlight podcast and current Rutgers athletes.
“When we went to the athletic department to try to do deals with Geo Baker and Isaih Pacheco, they told us that they couldn’t assist in brokering the deals. So, we did NIL deals directly with both of them for podcast appearances, and we knew that there was a gap to fill. As NIL collectives started popping up at other schools, we knew it was time to get a group together and do the proper due diligence. Six months later, here we are with KTR launching.”
Breslauer on what the hope is for the Knights of the Raritan and what the NIL collective aims to achieve
“NIL collectives are going to become table stakes. The athletes deserve to be able to maximize their NIL opportunities while playing for the university.
“I’ve had a lot of people say to me, ‘Why would you try this with Rutgers? You’re not going to be able to compete with blue-chip brands!’ My response to that is when you’re at a slight disadvantage in something, do you not create the infrastructure to have a chance at success? This is a similar concept.
“The infrastructure has to be in place for the programs and athletes to succeed, so we knew the onus was on the alumni, fans and donors to make it happen.”
Breslauer on the NIL collective and compliance oversight
“Doing this right is of paramount importance to us. Yeah, NIL can get some people uncomfortable, largely because many people associate players getting paid with shady bagmen and under-the-table payments.
“Everything we do here will be above board and in compliance with whatever the existing ruleset is for NIL deals through legislation. A lot of this is going to be about education — educating the athletes, the contributors, the prospective contributors and those who are representing athletes. The end-game should be creating cool partnerships with athletes, and representing Rutgers in a fun way.”
Breslauer on making the NIL collective accessible for all fans and not just big donors
“Making this a communal contribution entity is a huge part of the pass. The micro-contribution component is going to be a driving factor for recurring funds.
“If you create a cool experience for a $10 per month contributor, with events and swag and interesting partnerships, you’re going to prevent churn in a meaningful way. You want to incentivize the contributor to stay on board and you do that by involving them in the experiences and partnerships, so they can see where their money is going.
“I think the athletes will have fun being involved in that general fanbase engagement as well. Will we still need big-ticket contributors? Absolutely. But, they can also appreciate the power in numbers.”
Breslauer on how the Knights of the Raritan will support all sports and not just football and basketball
“Deal equity in Olympic Sports is very important — women’s and men’s sports, lesser-covered revenue sports and more. Will they get the same absolute value in deal amount? Likely no. But, you’d be surprised how many motivated and connected contributors there are for wrestling, lacrosse and other non-football, basketball programs at Rutgers.
“This is a school with multiple individual wrestling national champions, Final Four appearances from both soccer programs in the modern era and many other programs competing in the NCAA Tournament. There are passionate alumni from all of those programs that we’ll work with at KTR.”
Breslauer on what the NIL collective means for him, personally
“This is a cool moment for me. My connection to Rutgers runs a lot deeper than just having developed at WRSU while in college. I grew up on campus, and my dad is nearing his fiftieth year at the university.
“I’ve spent a lot of time cultivating relationships around RU, and I think that I’ve become respected by awesome alumni and donors like Jon, Al, Jeff and others on this executive committee. Plus, some of my athlete relationships from my time in play-by-play led to our advisory board members. I know how important KTR is to the future of Rutgers Athletics, and I’m just excited to be a small part of its growth potential.”