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2 key Florida State NIL collectives announce ‘historic’ merger

Jeremy Crabtree05/05/22
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Florida State NIL collectives Rising Spear and Warpath 850 announced Thursday they were consolidating. The move is believed to be the first merger in the collective space in the Name, Image and Likeness era.

Collectives, which are independent of a university, pool funds from boosters and businesses, to help facilitate NIL deals for athletes. They also create their own ways for athletes to monetize their brands. Every Power 5 school is expected to be affiliated with at least one collective by the end of the year.

As part of the merger, Kristi Dosh of Business of College Sports reported athletes already working with Rising Spear will have access to the Dreamfield NIL platform. Dreamfield formed Warpath 850 in March, while Rising Spear launched last December.

Additionally, several NIL observers told On3 they anticipate more collective mergers in the future. The experts say consolidation makes sense and helps the collectives build a larger war chest for recruiting and retention efforts.

Collectives and the NIL have become a lightning rod in college athletics over the past few weeks. Coaches say NIL disguises “pay-for-play” deals choreographed by collectives. Coaches say the groups are using money to persuade recruits and target players on other college teams.

A recent poll of around 80 athletic directors in the Football Bowl Subdivision revealed an overwhelming majority are concerned collectives are using NIL payments as improper recruiting enticements, both for high school prospects and players in the transfer portal.

Florida NIL collective merger ‘groundbreaking’

Bob Davis and Alan Flaumenhaft, former members of the executive board of directors of Seminole Boosters, founded Rising Spear.

There are two NIL options as part of Rising Spear. For Gold Standard, Rising Spear finds a booster-owned company and enlists an athlete as a sponsor. For Garnet Spirit, boosters donate to a charity and get a tax write-off. Athletes make charitable appearances to earn compensation.

“This exciting merger between Rising Spear and Warpath 850,” Matthew Quigley, recently named CEO of Rising Spear, told Dosh. “It will create a strong, unified membership platform to benefit Seminole student-athletes,”

“To our knowledge, this groundbreaking merger is the first consolidation between NIL collectives representing student-athletes from the same institution. We look forward to welcoming all Warpath 850 subscribers with a reminder that the student-athletes receive 100% of all donations collected by Rising Spear.”

Additionally, Corey Staniscia, Dreamfield’s Director of External Relations, told Dosh the merger was historic.

“It is the first time the industry is seeing two groups that were on parallel tracks in the same town now team up in a peaceful way to further benefit the athletes at the institution,” Staniscia said.

Furthermore, Rising Spear recently partnered with MarketPryce. The move aims to create a larger number of NIL deals for FSU athletes.