MINNEAPOLIS - University of Minnesota football coach PJ Fleck opened his weekly news conference on Monday announcing that a new name, image and likeness initiative has been launched to benefit Gophers’ student athletes.
The collective, formed and launched by former Gophers’ player Derek Burns, and Rob Gag, whose son is a graduate assistant with the men’s basketball team, aims to work with Minnesota athletes to make compensation off their name, image and likeness. With a fee paid on the Dinkytown Athletes web site, fans, boosters, local businesses and anyone who follows Gophers’ athletes can support them financially, and gain access to exclusive content, fan engagement opportunities and partnerships.
NIL has come to the forefront of college athletics with schools working to find ways to compensate current athletes, and in recruiting high school athletes. Dinkytown Athletes is a similar initiative to the Twin Cities NIL Club, which gives fans access to exclusive content and fan opportunities specifically with the football team for a $200 fee. That money is split evenly among players who have joined.
Fleck urged anyone interested to sign up for Dinkytown Athletes, though all he can do with NIL is make his players aware of what opportunities exist.
"I can’t say this enough, how important this is. So calling on all of our donors, our boosters, our fans, our alumni, anybody who supports our program to really look at this collective," Fleck said. "It’s called action, to really support our student-athletes here at the University of Minnesota in this ever-changing landscape of college athletics as we keep moving forward."
Burns was an offensive lineman for the Gophers, and said in a statement he’s excited for what Dinkytown Athletes can bring to Minnesota athletes.
"The University of Minnesota community is made up of one of the largest living alumni bases in the country, an unmatched local business community including 16 Fortune 500 companies, and a passionate fan base. Dinkytown Athletes was created to leverage all of these groups to provide student-athletes with NIL opportunities that can only exist in a community like ours," Burns said. "We believe that together we have an opportunity to step up and lead the way on NIL. We are ready, the University is ready and the student-athletes couldn’t be more excited."
Anyone interested in signing up for a Dinkytown Athletes membership has five options.
- A Club membership for $10/month or $110/year
- A Varsity membership for $25/month or $275/year
- An All-Conference membership for $50/month or $500/year
- An All-American membership for $100/month or $1,100 per year
- A Dinkytown Champions membership for $500/month or $5,500 per year
Gophers’ athletes already affiliated with Dinkytown Athletes include football players Chris Autman-Bell, Justin Walley, Trill Carter and Braelen Oliver. Other Gophers include volleyball players CC McGraw and Taylor Landfair, basketball players Jamison and Amaya Battle, Dawson Garcia, Parker Fox, Braeden Carrington, Mara Braun and Mallory Heyer.
According to the Dinkytown Athletes web site, a total of 59 Gophers’ athletes have or are pursuing NIL opportunities with the new collective.