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Christian McCaffrey narrates video for Lifetime Cardinal NIL collective ahead of Super Bowl LVIII

NS_headshot_clearbackgroundby:Nick Schultz02/02/24


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With Super Bowl LVIII just over a week away, Lifetime Cardinal called in one of Stanford’s all-time greats to help the NIL collective take its next step.

Christian McCaffrey provided the voiceover for Lifetime Cardinal’s latest promotional video as the collective “takes NIL to the next level.” Next week, he will play in his first career Super Bowl when the San Francisco 49ers take on the Kansas City Chiefs in Las Vegas.

But before he was an All-Pro running back in the NFL, McCaffrey was an All-American at Stanford. In his three years with the Cardinal, he rushed for more than 6,000 yards and 52 touchdowns before the Carolina Panthers selected him No. 8 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft.

“What does it mean to be a Cardinal?” McCaffrey said in the video. “It means you’re powered by relentless ambition, living to defy labels, craving opportunities to shine, on the pursuit of athletic and academic greatness. It means you’re seizing your potential, stepping out of your comfort zone, pushing the boundaries of greatness, striving to make a difference on and off the field. … While it may start here in Palo Alto, this experience lasts a lifetime.”

Lifetime Cardinal is centerpiece of Stanford NIL plan

Lifetime Cardinal launched in July 2022 to help kickstart Stanford’s NIL efforts and is the university’s only NIL collective. In fact, Christian McCaffrey’s father Ed – a former All-American wide receiver with the Cardinal who went on to win three Super Bowls – is on the board. Former Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck is, too.

The new initiative from the 49ers star is a big deal for the collective.

“We’re building a different type of NIL program at Stanford and generating real momentum right now,” Lifetime Cardinal leaders told On3. “Our alumni and former athletes are an enormous asset for us. Christian and Ed McCaffrey and Andrew Luck have been very impactful in getting the steamroller going. We’ll keep building from here. We’re nationally competitive and working with over 135 athletes while building comprehensive financial education and career services to bolster NIL compensation opportunities and deliver on the Lifetime Cardinal promise of Stanford.”

Lifetime Cardinal has deals with a number of Stanford athletes across multiple sports. The collective is also a huge supporter of Cardinal women’s sports, which are among the best in the country. However, the collective isn’t just facilitating endorsement deals. Last year, founder Allen Thorpe said Lifetime Cardinal helps organize summer internships, career services and investment opportunities.

“We’re not going to teach [the athletes] to be social media influencers,” Thorpe told On3’s Ivan Maisel. “We’re going to give them real alumni mentorship, connectivity and career support throughout their time at Stanford. If we can go to employers and say, ‘We represent hundreds of Stanford athletes. They are an incredibly talented and diverse group of women and men. It’s not just about using their faces to sell your product. Wouldn’t you want their brains and effort level at your company?’”

Stanford reinforces program with NIL General Manager

Stanford administrators are also touting what they believe is the “first in the nation” move that fits with its “Lifetime” mission of NIL plus programs that have long-term benefits.

Stanford, in collaboration with Altius Sports Partners, have established an in-house general manager position. The move to have an in-house GM is not new in the NIL world. But Stanford’s focus appears to be different than at other places.

The position will have numerous responsibilities. But one of the biggest is to work with Lifetime Cardinal student-athletes on their job skills and set up internships and network with Stanford alums in related career development programs.

“As the all-time leader in NCAA championships, one of the top academic and research institutions in the world, and a vital part of the Silicon Valley ecosystem, Stanford is uniquely positioned to develop a robust, innovative approach to supporting its student-athletes’ commercial opportunities, and we are eager to get to work helping that vision become a reality,” Andrew Donovan, Altius’ President of ASP College, said in a statement.