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Syracuse Set To Step Up NIL Game With First-Ever “Collective”

Credit N. Scott Trimble/Syracuse.com

Three months ago, Syracuse’s NIL shortcomings flashed across the pan as a short-lived topic of concern. Headlines made by other ACC players’ earnings through name-image-likeness opportunities forced SU Athletic Director John Wildhack to answer questions about what his teams were doing with regards to new NIL chances. At the time, Wildhack didn’t offer many specifics – but predicted that Syracuse would have an “NIL collective” by Fall.

Yesterday, that prediction came to fruition.

A new group called the “315 Foundation” has recently entered the fray as Syracuse’s newest collective. Its organizers, Mike Bristol and Tony DeSorbo, have been planning its unveiling for nearly a calendar year, and has been organized as a not-for-profit 501(c)(3). Per Syracuse.com, the group is planning to go public shortly.

For anyone not caught up to speed, an “NIL collective” is something new now allowed under recently-implemented name-image-likeness rules for college athletes. Simply put, collectives are a way for boosters and fans to pool money together to pay athletes to perform a service. It’s a concrete way to make sure players can get compensated for one thing or another without having to hunt for a position as a spokesman for a product, for example.

Apparently, the 315 Foundation plans to operate like so: SU athletes will perform work for selected charities and non-profits such as camps, appearances, or clinics, and then be compensated for their work in a way that will be “photographed…it’s going to be documented”, according to Bristol’s interview with Syracuse.com.

Collectives have been questioned for their legality in the short term past, but they seem to fit within the current (albeit lax) regulations enforced by the NCAA. For their part, the 315 Foundation actually prefers their group not even be called a “collective” in the first place. At a surface level, having SU athletes help run camps and charities for a little cash seems like a win-win, but rest assured every school who sanctions a collective is worried about being the one who eventually gets caught with its hand too deep in the cookie jar. As long as Syracuse is intelligent with what it does, the 315 Foundation seems like a positive, at least to keep pace with other serious programs in the NIL arms race.

Even Jim Boeheim, who has vocally complained about NIL’s appearance as pay-to-play, has directly appealed to fans that the 315 Foundation is “your chance to help recruiting” in a recent Syracuse.com interview and seems encouraged that it wants to be labeled as a “foundation” instead of a collective. Whatever he wants to call it, Boeheim surely realizes that whatever collective is functioning at SU will affect modern recruiting.

Ultimately, Syracuse’s foray into the world of NIL collectives is a positive. They’re legal – even if we still need to make that unusual disclaimer – and popping up all over the country. SU is now catching up among its peers and refusing to sit idly by. That’s big news, considering what a rough year most of the school’s teams had during the 2021-22 year. As NIL goes, so too does ‘Cuse recruiting efforts. Learn to love it, Orange nation. 

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The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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