A group of Wisconsin donors has launched the Varsity Collective to open up another avenue for Badgers athletes to make money off their name, image and likeness (NIL).
In a press release, the organization said it “will be the principal destination for Wisconsin Badgers student-athletes to identify business opportunities while also providing a platform for any Badgers fan to financially support the Collective.”
College athletes across the country have been able to make money from NIL since last July. A large number of Wisconsin athletes took advantage, including quarterback Graham Mertz, running back Braelon Allen and guard Johnny Davis. The school helped in that process by partnering with Opendorse to assist with building the athletes’ individual brand. The Varsity Collective will take that a step further by allowing fans to directly support the athletes.
“We have all witnessed the fundamental shifts in college sports over the past year and we are thrilled to launch our platform for Wisconsin Badgers student-athletes so they can participate in NIL deals,” said Ted Kellner, a major UW donor to both the university and the athletic department. “We have studied the landscape and done our diligence to establish The Varsity Collective which we believe will be one of the premier collectives in all of college sports.”
The collective, which is not affiliated with the school, has support from former players.
“I love what we are doing with The Varsity Collective,” former quarterback Brooks Bollinger said in the release. “It is an honor to be partnering with a group of successful and passionate Badger alumni who want to enhance the Wisconsin Badgers student-athlete experience.”