Earlier this week, Ohio State-focused collective The Foundation held a signing event with five of the Buckeye’s early signees. The event looked like a press conference with star recruits Carnell Tate, Jermaine Mathews, Jelani Thurman, Noah Rogers and Malik Hartford posing for pictures and doing interviews.
As part of the agreement with Friends of Wilbur & Wilma, the players each received a cash stipend and a new laptop. The cash stipend is part of the players’ agreement and will be paid out monthly throughout the terms of the contract with the collective.
Players that were officially tagged in the collective’s social media post include:
- Quarterback Brayden Dorman
- Receiver Jackson Holman
- Defensive linemen Bill Norton and Tyler Manoa
- Defensive back Genesis Smith, Canyon Moses, Arian Parish
- Linebacker Kamuela Kaaihue
- Athlete Gavin Hunter
“As part of their onboarding into the collective and their welcome to Tucson, they get a cash stipend for move-in,” Friends of Wilbur & Wilma General Manager Joey Medina told On3. “They also get a brand-new laptop for business communication purposes. It’s super, super exciting to get these 16 onboarded. We have seven more that will be here in early summer and that’ll complete our recruiting class of 2023.
“It’s an exciting time for these guys and for us. By working with them right when they get to campus, they can begin to make an impact in the Tucson community.”
Arizona signees get to work through NIL deal
Medina is right.
Friends of Wilbur & Wilma was one of the earliest collectives in the Pac-12 Conference, launching in February 2022. It’s been highly active throughout the Wildcat community and has created some tremendous NIL opportunities for student-athletes it partners with.
One of those opportunities is with Torre Chisholm, the Executive Director of the Friends of Pima Animal Care Center. Within minutes of signing partnerships with the collective, players started promoting the 2023 Pets of Pima Parade. The parade is a massive fundraiser event for the animal care center.
“Torre introduced his non-profit and helped the guys learn what it was about,” Medina said. “Then we put together a social post and guys have started to put out the posts to promote their annual parade they have coming up.
“It’s a win-win situation for the student-athlete and also for the local business.”
While the collective has seen the most success with football student-athletes, The Friends of Wilbur and Wilma supports creating and developing NIL business opportunities for all student-athletes of Arizona’s 21 athletic programs. Unlike many other collectives, deals are also struck with walk-ons.
“Our scholarship players get a little more,” Medina said. “But walk-ons get something from us every single month for being a valuable asset to the community.”
Friends of Wilbur and Wilma has big backers
Founded by loyal Wildcat supporters Cole Davis and Humberto Lopez, Friends of Wilbur and Wilma utilizes Blueprint Sports technology to learn more about supporting Arizona student-athletes NIL opportunities and connect with them.
Furthermore, the collective also has the support of the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education.
“I’m a big believer in empowering our next wave of athletes,” Agassi, the eight-time grand slame tennis champion, previously said in a press release. “It’s incredible to see and support this technology. And I know that the University of Arizona student-athletes will benefit greatly from this support.”