Georgia Tech has always had to do things a little bit differently to land top athletes. The Yellow Jackets have to attract talent that has a higher qualifying standard and often with a specialized academic focus. Plus, they have to do it while being located in Atlanta, which is one of the nation’s top recruiting hotbeds with top SEC and ACC programs just right down the road.
Yet, the Yellow Jackets have always done things their way. Georgia Tech has won four football national championships and made two Final Four appearances in men’s basketball. Plus, the Yellow Jackets have top-level volleyball, baseball, golf, swimming and diving and track programs.
And now Georgia Tech taking a unique approach to NIL.
The Tech Way is operated by Student-Athlete NIL, the company that runs multiple successful collectives across the country such as Crimson and Cream at Oklahoma and Success with Honor at Penn State. This is the seventh Power Five collective Student-Athlete NIL has launched. Student Athlete NIL CEO Jason Belzer says The Tech Way has a “synergy” he’s not seen at the other schools.
“Georgia Tech is a unique institution,” Belzer said. “It’s a high academic institution. They have a unique history and background with a lot of tradition. They’re different. And what institutions have to do to be competitive in Name, Image and Likeness is stay true to their values. They have to be who they are.”
Georgia Tech has ‘great NIL alignment’
And what they are is organized and laser-focused on helping Georgia Tech entice and retain top-notch student-athletes. Belzer said The Tech Way has the full support of academic and athletic department leaders, such as athletic director J Batt.
“They have a great strategy,” Belzer said. “They have great NIL alignment – top-down from the university administration to the college’s athletic department administration.”
Belzer also said The Tech Way has buy-in from many of the school’s most important boosters.
“Georgia Tech is the type of institution that doesn’t have thousands and thousands of donors,” he said. “You have 50 to 100 large institutional donors who have all been on the same page. This is the seventh Power 5 collective that we’ve launched, and there’s more alignment across both the institutional side as well as the donor side and everything in-between than with any school that we work with.”
Another thing that will help The Tech Way is that it’s absorbing Swarm The ATL. Swarm The ATL is another Georgia Tech collective that was launched last year with much fanfare.
“The Tech Way is really the only operational collective at Georgia Tech at this point,” Belzer said. “We have already signed around 25 athletes, including a number of football, basketball and women’s basketball players.”
Atlanta creates NIL opportunities for The Tech Way
Georgia Tech is in one of the nation’s top metropolitan areas with a lot of large corporations across the business spectrum. Belzer is confident The Tech Way will be able to leverage those businesses into NIL partnerships with Yellow Jacket student-athletes.
“I think we’ve all seen that the majority of real NIL dollars from a corporate standpoint are mostly local,” Belzer said. “Atlanta has more localized opportunities than any other city in the country. And Georgia Tech is literally smack dab in the middle of Atlanta.
“There is a tremendous, tremendous opportunity. One of the reasons why we have a chance to come in is because of our track record of being able to bring in the corporate community. Our goal is going to be very aggressive and help connect corporate partners in the larger Atlanta business community to The Tech Way.”
Georgia Tech football should benefit
The collective’s launch comes at an important time at Georgia Tech. The football program is going through a reset. The Yellow Jackets stripped away the interim tag from Brent Key to make him the official head coach after he took over mid-year following the firing of Geoff Collins.
With so much top talent in the Atlanta area, Key needs every resource to be competitive on the recruiting trail. And there’s little question that NIL is important in recruiting, especially when it comes to roster maintenance and the Transfer Portal.
The Tech Way likely won’t have tens of millions to throw at talent, like rivals Auburn, Georgia and Florida State. But Key now has an NIL tool at his disposal that’ll foster success and create opportunities that weren’t there previously.