NIL continues to produce some creative partnerships, especially when you combine a highly ranked team, impact athletes and a forward-thinking collective. Take what’s happening with the BYU football team and the CougConnect collective.
Working with CougConnect – the top BYU-focused NIL collective in market – tight end Carter Wheat, defensive back Malik Moore and receiver Kody Epps dropped “Rocking Royal,” a hype track on iTunes and Amazon Music.
“Rocking Royal” stirs up feel good feelings of Cougar fans coast-to-coast. Plus, the anthem means even more after the Cougars beat No. 9 Baylor in double overtime this past Saturday and climbed to No. 12 in this week’s AP poll.
CougConnect co-founder Jake Brandon told On3 that Wheat has always had a passion and talent for mixing beats.
“We heard about that and asked him to share while at our house for dinner one evening,” Brandon said. “We were blown away with how good they were. He had dozens and dozens of great beats. He said he always wanted to have someone rap to his beats and make a song – just for fun.”
“I said ‘I know a music producer. Why don’t we record it professionally in a studio and release it on iTunes for an NIL deal?’”
Wheat agreed and got Moore and Epps on board to rap the track.
“They were both a little hesitant at first,” Brandon said. “But once they got going they were having a lot of fun and making what we all thought was a really good song. They freestyled the whole thing.”
‘Rocking Royal’ connects with BYU fans
Brandon said the lyrics to “Rocking Royal” truly strike a chord with BYU fans and players. It highlights some unique things about what it means to be a Cougar.
“Boys just came back from their mission. We going crazy.” one of the verses says. “Kalani (Sitake) got no problems. You can call him Jay Z. Best fans up in the nation since the 1980s.”
Friendly NIL deal
Brandon said with the way the collective released the “Rocking Royal” track makes it a much friendlier NIL deal for Wheat, Moore and Epps.
“They’re getting 3 ½ times what a normal artist makes with a similar project working with a studio and a producer,” he said.
“The vast majority of the money goes to them. We didn’t release to streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify because the royalties are so low. We want the players to make money off this NIL project. That’s why it is only available on iTunes Store and Amazon Music. It costs $.99 cents and I think a lot of fans will enjoy it on their playlists and coming through their Alexas.”
CougConnect making waves for BYU student-athletes
CougConnect was launched in November 2021, and it quickly became one of the top booster-driven groups West of the Mississippi.
According to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune, most prominent athletes, like quarterback Jaren Hall, have made close to $100,000. The role players have made thousands with CougConnect. The collective also played a role in facilitating a teamwide NIL deal for licensed apparel with the Ruke Agency in August.
“I think this has evened the playing field,” Hank Tuipulotu, a former BYU linebacker now committed to helping current players make money told the Tribune. “I’m sure coaches are frustrated. But it is better than it was in my opinion.”