All posts tagged: athletic programs

The Super PACs of College Sports

The Super PACs of College Sports

Fan support is a big reason the University of Washington Huskies and the University of Michigan Wolverines will play in college football’s championship game tomorrow night in Houston. That support isn’t just emotional; it’s also financial. For decades, college athletes received only scholarships as compensation, until legal changes forced the NCAA to let them profit from their own name, image, and likeness. The new NIL era allows individual athletes to accept endorsement deals. But at colleges and universities all around the country, something else has happened: Fan-supported “collectives” have sprouted up to help teams stay competitive by providing broad categories of players with thousands of dollars in cash apiece—ostensibly for their marketing value rather than for their performance on the field. Looking at how this season’s four-team college-football playoff unfolded, Huskies and Wolverines fans would probably agree that their money was well spent. Michigan, for example, was initially slower than other big-name athletic programs to embrace collectives. Now the university has multiple collectives at its disposal, including the Champions Circle, an official partner of the …