LinkingCoogs NIL collective signs 3-year deal with TDECU to benefit all Houston athletes

On3 imageby:Pete Nakos03/21/24


The Houston-driven NIL collective LinkingCoogs signed a multi-year partnership deal with Texas Dow Employees Credit Union (TDECU) that will allow more than 600 athletes across 17 sports the opportunity to opt-in to a fee-free payment infrastructure.

This will allow athletes to open accounts with the credit union while waiving fees that would incur with opening up accounts. A three-year agreement, the deal will allow Houston athletes to receive free guidance on establishing credit, budgeting effectively and understanding tax obligations from the credit union. It’s the first time TDECU has struck a deal for its infrastructure to be used by athletes to create a solid financial foundation.

According to LinkingCoogs vice president Landon Goesling, the deal is valued in the mid-six figures and athletes will be able to promote the credit union in return for NIL compensation. Plans are in place for campaigns and events with athletes spread across the 17 sports. TDECU also holds the naming rights to the Houston football stadium.

“We are thrilled to announce our multi-year NIL partnership with TDECU after two years of collaboration,” he said. “This groundbreaking alliance promises to redefine NIL engagements in the financial services category. With TDECU’s campus presence, including football stadium naming rights, the impact will be significant for Houston’s student-athletes and community.”

LinkingCoogs, which is the exclusive Houston NIL collective, is managed by TheLinkU, which manages NIL entities at Florida AtlanticTexas StateNorth Texas and the College of Charleston. Instead of focusing on raising donor dollars, the sports marketing firm focuses on facilitating brand deals in the select college markets.

The partnership with TDECU allows every Houston athlete to opt-in.

“TDECU is not just a financial institution. We are financial partners and problem solvers for our members,” TDECU president and CEO Isaac Johnson said. “Our partnership with the University of Houston has always been about more than stadium naming rights. It’s also about helping student-athletes, and the entire community, through financial education, career development, and fighting food insecurity.”

LinkingCoogs imperative in success of Houston basketball

The Cougar-focused collective has sourced over seven figures in deals for Houston players and worked closely with the men’s basketball program, which is a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Cougars open play Friday night against No. 16 seed Longwood.

Houston sat at No. 1 in the AP Top 25 poll for three weeks this season. The Cougars were No. 1 for seven weeks last season, their first appearance since the “Phi Slama Jama” era. Houston head coach Kelvin Sampson has not skipped a beat making the jump to the Big 12 this season, arguably the best basketball conference in the nation.

The NIL arms race has emerged as the biggest theme in college football and basketball since the NCAA allowed athletes to begin monetizing their publicity rights back in July 2021. The financial commitment from TDECU to Houston sets the Cougars up for success in the future.

“This partnership underscores the not-for-profit credit union’s unwavering dedication to empowering individuals to make informed financial decisions, laying the groundwork for a brighter future beyond the field or court,” TDECU chief digital and marketing officer Sheiludis Moyett said. “Our goal is to prepare the student athletes for success during their college years, and beyond. This innovative plan is designed to create a nurturing a community where individuals can thrive.”