DALLAS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Today a group of prominent SMU alumni and businesses from the Dallas area have announced the commitment of over one million dollars annually for an NIL (name, image, and likeness) program tied to SMU football. The NIL program “PonyUp” will be led by alumni and donor, former SMU football player and longtime supporter of the football program, Paul Loyd with support from former players: Eric Dickerson, Luke Crossland, Dick Anderson, Kevin Beachum and Richie Butler.
“One of SMU’s biggest assets is the success and connectivity of SMU alums, of Dallas, and in combination the support for SMU student athletes,” said Paul Loyd. “SMU is Dallas’s team and has made huge progress in every aspect of the program, so businesses stepping up for SMU NILs is yet another signal that SMU football is continuing the momentum and ready to take another huge step.”
The commitment is intended to immediately make SMU the leader nationally in NILs and is expected to expand quickly. These NIL opportunities are all centered around helping the SMU players in the present while preparing them for life after college.
The program will have several elements including Professional Development, Community, and as Clearing House/Matchmaker for businesses and players. For example, the Professional Development program called “NIL Learnships,” an innovative twist on the paid internship, whereas players are connected to successful entrepreneurs and develop a 1 to 1 mutual mentorship, with both parties exchanging ideas and different perspectives, and the athlete getting enhanced mentoring in areas such as financial management and other business skills. The NIL experience will be shared via social post, appearances, and other experiences. There have been two community program verticals created so far, one in which businesses will support causes important to the players and will sign NIL deals to support the effort, and the other being created to promote Dallas and things to do in Dallas, utilizing NILs to promote the effort.
Operationally, the group has hired both a marketing consultant and legal advisor to help grow, organize, educate, and administer the program whereas all activities comply with applicable rules and laws, and can also maximize value for the student athletes. Uniquely, the donor leadership group has unprecedented experience in athlete and celebrity endorsements, having experience representing brands and/or professional players on over 10,000 transactions.
The Dallas Fort-Worth area currently holds a spot as a top 3 market for brand media spending in college football, with over a dozen corporate sponsorships from ATT, Southwest Airlines, Toyota, Charles Schwab, Pepsi/Frito Lay, American Airlines, and Exxon.
Further details for this program will be provided soon. inquiries can be directed to http://www.ponyupnil.com/
Ranked among the Top 20% of best national universities by U.S. News and World Report, SMU is the only NCAA FBS program in Dallas, Texas, a top-5 media market. Since 2013, SMU has invested more than $150 million in athletics facilities, 12 of 17 programs have won at least one conference championship and 16 programs have made the postseason. With over a century of athletics tradition, SMU has won eight National Championships and 170+ Conference Championships and has posted 150+ NCAA Top-10 Finishes. SMU student-athletes have won over 100 individual National Championships and earned over 1,900 All-America honors. More information about SMU and its coaches, student-athletes and teams is available at SMUMustangs.com.