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Joe Moore Award enters relationship with Enovis’ DonJoy, opens NIL opportunities

Nakos updated headshotby:Pete Nakos11/21/23


Full Joel Klatt interview with Andy Staples | Rivalry Week Preview, College Football Playoffs | 11.20.23

The Joe Moore Award is the only group trophy handed out in college football.

Named after the former college football offensive line coach, it was first launched in 2015. Aaron Taylor played for Moore at Notre Dame, earning first-team All-American honors before becoming a first-round NFL draft pick. He would later help the Green Bay Packers win the Super Bowl in 1997.

Like so many before and after him, Taylor was never allowed to monetize his name, image and likeness rights during college. That’s since changed, as the NCAA has permitted NIL since the summer of 2021. As a founding member of the group award named after his former coach, he wanted to make sure honorees had endorsement opportunities.

The Joe Moore Award has entered a partnership with the medical technology growth company Enovis, as its DonJoy brand will sponsor the award this season. Through the relationship facilitated by The BrandR Group, award nominees will be able to access NIL opportunities with DonJoy which produces the knee brace more than 95% of Division I linemen use.

“I can’t remember the exact words I said, but I think there were some expletives but it was like, ‘Are you kidding me?'” said Taylor, who is now a commentator at CBS. “DonJoy is synonymous with offensive and defensive lineman in the sport of football. I wore those braces in high school, I wore them at Notre Dame. And I certainly wore them to some degree on an elbow or knee in my time at Green Bay. There couldn’t be a more fitting and appropriate partner for us, to partner with somebody that takes care of us, so that we can take care of others.”

Semifinalists were unveiled for this year’s honor earlier this month, including Florida State, Georgia, Kansas State, LSU, Michigan, Missouri, Notre Dame, Oregon, Oregon State, Tennessee, Texas and Washington.

Winning athletes will be asked to promote the award on their social media platforms, and they’ll be compensated for doing so as part of the partnership with The BrandR Group. Winners will also appear in a DonJoy ad, plus plans are in the works for merchandising opportunities.

Why DonJoy was right fit for Joe Moore Award

This isn’t the first time the award has found a way to leverage NIL. After Michigan won the Joe Moore in 2021, the organization released T-shirts featuring the Wolverines next to the trophy –  standing at a height of 6 feet and weighing 800 pounds. The line received the net sales, with a portion going toward a charitable cause.

Taylor, who is a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, said this is only a start. The relationship will allow the award to continue to expand and start new NIL partnerships. DonJoy will be the official partner in the finalist and winner announcement videos.

“We’re really excited about that because we’ve been very patient with the people that we’ve had conversations with in terms of fit and alignment in terms of partnerships,” he said. “Nothing ever really felt right, philosophically or practically, until we met The BrandR Group through one of our relationships of one of our board members, Darren Rankin, on the executive committee. He had done some work with Chris Marciani over the years, I believe, and brought him to the table.

“It became pretty apparent pretty quickly on how aligned we were. Very shortly thereafter, they did what they do best and found a partner for us that I think we’re all really excited about in DonJoy.”

Joe Moore Award leading postgame honors in NIL space

The Joe Moore Award is one of the postseason honors to dive into the NIL world. Bowl games are prohibited from inking NIL agreements with participating athletes. The same goes for basketball tournaments and other competitions.

Athletes will not be signing deals with the actual award foundation, instead being connected with DonJoy and future partners. Taylor emphasized that this wasn’t a rushed decision. When DonJoy emerged as a possible partner, however, it was a no-brainer.

Now the Joe Moore Award will be a leader in the space in regards to postseason awards creating NIL opportunities.

“I think NIL is long overdue,” Taylor said. “It got framed as pay-for-play initially when that was never really the heart of the matter. It was about proportional participation. Fairly compensating the players that are the lifeblood of this sport. And through NIL, we’ve finally been able to blaze that trail, if you will. So a natural extension of that for us, especially as being the only group or unit award in college football, it made sense to take care of those that take care of everybody else.

“I think the offensive line position is the constant team position within the constant team game. So the partnership, that’s the irony of this, that the award has invited, or forced, as some would say, us to embody the very principles that we’re upholding. That’s resilience. It’s teamwork, and it’s looking out for your partners.”