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Spider NIL Initiative: University of Richmond Athletics stepping up its NIL game

Chris Graham
richmond basketball
Photo: UR Athletics

The University of Richmond athletics department rolled out the Spider NIL Initiative on Wednesday, which the program hopes will provide its student-athletes with resources to better navigate their way through the Name, Image and Likeness universe.

“Spider Athletics is, first and foremost, a student-centered endeavor. It is our responsibility to provide our student-athletes with the education and resources to be successful in their sport, in the classroom and in the Richmond community,” UR Athletics Director John P. Hardt said.

The athletics department is partnering with the Robins School of Business, the University of Richmond School of Law and Advance to provide NIL programming and resources for each Spider student-athlete.

Educational programming will consist of social media/personal branding, financial literacy and tax implications, NCAA and regulatory compliance and engaging with vendors and companies.

Professional speakers will provide financial literacy and tax education regarding NIL earnings. Subject matter experts will provide educational sessions and offer NIL office hours to engage with student-athletes on these issues.

“Over the past 15 months, NIL has changed the collegiate athletics landscape,” Hardt said. “We have been diligent in understanding and monitoring the ever-evolving space to position ourselves to implement an effective model for Spider student-athletes.”

The plan includes the creation of the Spider Marketplace, a one-stop shop where fans and businesses can connect directly with student-athletes to offer NIL opportunities.

UR is also partnering with Opendorse and INFLCR to assist student-athletes in growing their brand and giving them access to a streamlined local marketplace to engage in NIL activity.

Opendorse will provide Richmond student-athletes with a branded marketplace to seek NIL opportunities. The Richmond-branded marketplace, which is fully NCAA compliant, will offer every Richmond student-athlete the ability to opt into the directory.

The platform will support Spider student-athletes by offering fans, brands and sponsors a single, streamlined platform to easily find, pitch, book and compensate student-athletes for their NIL services.

INFLCR is a marketing product that athletes can use to build their brands. Student-athletes receive on-demand access to share photos and videos from games, practices and more right from their phones.

Student-athletes may utilize the INFLCR Verified program to disclose NIL deals, as required by Virginia state law.

Every eligible student-athlete at the University of Richmond will also have the opportunity to become a paid brand ambassador with Adidas. Student-athletes will promote the Adidas brand using tracking links, send their audience to adidas.com to shop and be rewarded for the sales they generate.

One other opportunity for UR student-athletes involves PlayFly, the multimedia rights holder for Richmond Athletics, which is expanding its partnership to allow sponsorship opportunities for student-athletes.

“We are excited to officially announce the Spider NIL Initiative 2.0 as we continue to take steps to support our student-athletes in a manner that capitalizes on the resources at the University of Richmond and prepares them for success after graduation,” Hardt said. “This initiative harnesses the collaborative nature of the University of Richmond and provides our student-athletes with access to experts to assist them in optimizing their NIL activities.”

Chris Graham

Chris Graham

Chris Graham, the king of "fringe media," is the founder and editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1994 alum of the University of Virginia, Chris is the author and co-author of seven books, including Poverty of Imagination, a memoir published in 2019, and Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, and The Worst Wrestling Pay-Per-View Ever, published in 2018. For his commentaries on news, sports and politics, go to his YouTube page, or subscribe to his Street Knowledge podcast. Email Chris at [email protected].