SDSU stars join forces through NIL deal with DOJ to fight fentanyl crisis

On3 imageby:Jeremy Crabtree08/22/23


In another NIL first, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday it had entered into an NIL partnership with members of the San Diego State basketball team.

As part of the team-wide NIL deal between the DOJ and the 2023-2024 Aztec men’s basketball roster, the players will promote fentanyl awareness and prevention through social media efforts. Also involved in the deal are the U.S. Attorney’s Office, San Diego City Attorney’s Office and the MESA Foundation collective. In the release, the DOJ said the deal is believed to be the first of its kind between a collective and a government agency.

Terms of the team-wide team were not released.

SDSU stars take message to social media

In their social media postings, players – including multiple members from the 2022-2023 squad that made it to the NCAA national championship game – describe the dangers of fentanyl. They also discuss the need to be aware of locations to obtain Narcan in the community. Narcan is a medicine that rapidly reverses the effects of opioids to prevent fatal overdoses.

In one of the public service announcements, Final Four hero Lamont Butler looks at the camera directly and talks about how “Fentanyl kills. Creates chaos. Ruins families. It doesn’t care about your race.” Other SDSU players like Reese Dixon-Waters, Elijah Saunders, Micah Parrish, Demarshay Johnson and Darrion Trammell talk about being a good teammate and know where Narcan is available.

“We are willing to do whatever it takes to save lives and spread the word that fentanyl is still claiming many lives, and every one of us can and must take action to prevent fatal overdoses,” Acting U.S. Attorney Andrew R. Haden said in the release. “I’d like to thank the incredible SDSU student-athletes, who did not hesitate to answer our call for help. They have graciously used their celebrity and influence for the most important cause: Keeping fellow students from making a fatal mistake with fentanyl.”

The “Block Fentanyl” campaign is just one aspect of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s prevention and outreach strategy. Earlier in August, prosecutors from the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the City Attorney’s Office gave a presentation at San Diego State to resident advisors and student leaders on the topic “Know Fentanyl.” The presentation, attended by approximately 250 students, covered the dangers of counterfeit and adulterated pills and powder, recognizing the signs of an overdose and how to properly deploy Narcan.

What is the MESA Foundation?

The Mesa Foundation launched in October 2022 with a focus on the men’s and women’s basketball teams at San Diego State.

Along with early deals with many of the men’s basketball roster at SDSU, The Mesa Foundation also executed a teamwide NIL deal with the women’s basketball roster.

“The Aztecs have been a staple in the San Diego community for decades,” the collective’s social media accounts said. “Mesa lets the community show their support by making contributions that impact the student-athletes directly.”

Initially the collective said it had an annual goal of raising $350,000 annually for NIL dealings.