Texas Tech’s NIL Offerings Will Keep Them Nationally Relevant
When the Name Image Likeness conversation started in earnest several years ago the overwhelming sentiment among Texas Tech fans on social media was that Texas Tech would be left in the dust while schools that are perceived as more wealthy would be able to money whip every single recruit in the nation.
Fast forward to nearly a year into the NIL era and that's simply not the case. Sure, Quinn Ewers went to Texas because the alleged NIL offer was huge. Texas A&M locked in one of the highest-rated recruiting classes ever and the general reaction was that the Aggies used a $30 million slush fund to lock those guys in.
Since the Aggies and Longhorns locked in prized recruits that must mean that Texas Tech has plummeted in recruiting right? That's what I was told would happen, but instead, the Red Raiders invested in Joey McGuire who in turn invested in a more robust recruiting staff, and the Football program is looking at one of the highest-rated recruiting classes in program history if the pace holds up in 2023.
The Longhorns and Aggies have both leveraged NIL expertly, and Texas Tech is still seeing a major uptick in recruiting success and I think that has a lot to do with the opportunities afforded by the influx of NIL money into the program.
The bottom line here is that Texas Tech has never competed for recruiting classes one on one vs Texas, but they hung in with Quinn Ewers until the very end. Is Texas Tech in that conversation pre-NIL? Not that I recall.
What Texas Tech can do more consistently is compete against TCU, Baylor, and Oklahoma State for high-quality prospects and the University can certainly be on par with the budgets of those programs. More specifically, Texas Tech's Alumni base can compete financially with the new Big 12 and probably outpace most when it comes to NIL Marketing.
That's the genius of the NIL. Fan bases can now significantly impact what a player can make monetarily. Do you want a future quarterback to commit to Texas Tech? Buy Tyler Shough's or Donovan Smith's jersey next year.
Seriously. Texas Tech is one of 40 schools nationally and one of three in the state of Texas that will be part of the initial fall 2022 launch by Fanatics. Not only will fans get to rock authentic jerseys from their favorite players with the actual name on the back, but the players will also receive compensation based on their jersey sales.
Maybe a 2025 prospect sees Tyler Shough in a random top-15 list of Jersey Sales amongst NCAA quarterbacks and they decide they want some of that coin.
The jerseys will be available through www.Shop.TexasTech.com this fall and will be Under Armour brand.
Another thing Texas Tech is on the cutting edge of? NFT's. According to TexasTech.com, "Texas Tech student-athletes will now have the opportunity to move into the NFT space thanks to NFTU.com, a new initiative with RECUR, a leading technology company that designs and develops on-chain branded experiences that allow fans to buy, collect, and resell digital products and collectibles."
More than 240 Texas Tech athletes have signed NIL deals since last July and those deals have been with more than 120 companies. Texas Tech Athletics also said that there are more than 100 active NIL deals right now.
Some of you may still think that Texas Tech has no shot to keep up with Texas and Texas A&M, and that might be true. There are long-held beliefs and systems in place that have afforded those two universities to get a huge head start. But to say that Texas Tech's Alums and fanbase can't make NIL a game-changer for the university is, quite frankly, ridiculous.
The University has produced a ridiculous amount of incredibly successful people and those people are now at the forefront of the NIL train that is running through Lubbock, Texas. Obviously, Cody Campbell and Dustin Womble have cut checks totaling more than $50 million dollars to help with facilities, but what about local business like People's Bank or Cardinal's who have NIL deals with Texas Tech student-athletes.
The separation of the actual University and the NIL is a bit murky because of Jersey sales and Double-Ts in advertisements, but there is a separation. Some of that comes in the form of nonprofit NIL collectives. The University of Texas has several, some surrounding particular position groups, and that has been something Texas Tech has been missing.
That missing piece has been rectified though as some alums have put together The Matador Club.
The Matador Club is a 501(c)3 organization started by Cody Campbell, Tim Culp, Terry Fuller, Marc McDougal, Gary Petersen, and John Sellers. The funds from this organization will begin to benefit the football, men's basketball, and baseball programs immediately before working out to the rest of the Texas Tech athletic department.
Ex-Players are already all-in on the Matador Club as a way that the common-man can affect the perceived monetary disparity between schools like the University of Texas and the Red Raiders. I have little doubt that Texas Tech fans would doubt which school has the more passionate fan base, so why do so many doubt the impact of NIL?
The good news is that with organizations like The Matador Club and Texas Tech athletes showing up on local commercials connected with the early recruiting success of McGuire's staff on the gridiron, the national perception of Texas Tech has a have-not can quickly change into a have.
Now all the football team has to do to continue that momentum is winning Big 12 games, which has been easier said than done at Texas Tech, but I wouldn't bet against Joey McGuire. Especially if his program is backed by a fanbase that's as ravenous as the Texas Tech basketball fanbase after a period of success, and now, more than ever, fans can directly affect the success of a program.
And of course, that sweet sweet NIL money won't hurt either.