The Fund rebrands as Texas Aggies United, official NIL partner of Texas A&M

On3 imageby:Pete Nakos09/18/23


Texas A&M was always thought of as one of the power players in name, image and likeness.

A large reason behind the early success was The Fund. Operating under the radar since the early days of NIL, no website was listed. Investors in The Fund told The Athletic at the time they didn’t understand why boosters would want to advertise collectives. The Fund supposedly generated tens of millions of dollars.

Now The Fund has become public, operating under a new name: Texas Aggies United. Launched Monday morning as the exclusive and official NIL partner of Texas A&M, the collective has already signed nearly 50 football players and athletes from numerous varsity sports.

TexAgs, the popular website covering Texas A&M athletics, will provide digital content, administrative support and overall customer experience for the organization

“Texas Aggies United is a new name for the NIL fund that has been operating since 2021 in support of Texas A&M student-athletes,” Texas Aggies United’s website states. “As the landscape has evolved, it became obvious we needed a public-facing website and the ability for ALL fans of Texas A&M to contribute to the NIL opportunities for Texas A&M student-athletes.”

The move to establish the public-facing collective comes after the 12th Man+ Fund, a booster-funded entity run through Texas A&M‘s fundraising arm, discontinued NIL operations last month. The decision was made after discussing the IRS memo released in early June with advisors. A 501(c)(3) entity since the 1980s, the 12th Man Fund has led funding initiatives for scholarships, programs and facilities in College Station.

Texas Aggies United to access advertising at events

Texas Aggies United will not accept tax-deductible donations and is not a registered nonprofit with the IRS. As an official partner of Texas A&M through Texas A&M Sports Properties, the collective can use institutional marks and logos with athletes in NIL activities. Texas Aggies United will promote NIL efforts at A&M athletic events.

“We are excited to welcome Texas Aggies United as the first name, image and likeness partner to become an exclusive and official partner with Texas A&M Athletics,” Texas A&M athletic director Ross Bjork said in a statement. “As we continue to create more and more opportunities for all Aggie student-athletes and the Name, Image, and Likeness ecosystem continues to evolve and grow, this collaboration will allow Texas Aggies United to be strategically aligned with Texas A&M Athletics.  

“Most importantly Texas Aggies United will be a main gateway to provide even more support for our student-athletes through branding and name, image and likeness opportunities.”

What does this mean for NIL at Texas A&M?

With monthly membership packages ranging from $5 to $5,0000 and a wide range of perks, it’s clear that Texas Aggies United will be a place for fans and high-profile boosters to pool their money. In the past, A&M just tapped into the top 10% of its donor base in NIL.

It also reassures Aggie fans that NIL won’t be a problem for the athletic department. When the 12th Man+ Fund opted to steer away from NIL, there was uncertainty about what would come next. Viewed as the next iteration of collectives, many thought schools across the FBS would copy the framework. Most have since been weary of stepping into the IRS’ crosshairs.

On July 1, the same day a new Texas NIL bill went into effect, the Aggies released a video explaining how they were approaching the new state law. Along with the creation of a new in-house department focused on NIL, they plan to be more active in assisting athletes in finding opportunities. 

The revised Texas NIL legislation included a number of provisions that are school and student-athlete friendly. But the most notable change was cover for state schools from being punished by the NCAA for any NIL-related violations, including any committed by collectives that have been set up to support student-athletes through deal facilitation.

Since the beginning of the NIL Era, Aggie boosters separated themselves from the rest of the nation no matter what organization is doing the work. There’s a reason why Nick Saban felt the need to call out Jimbo Fisher in May 2020.

Now with an official NIL collective, Texas Aggies United should be able to capitalize and bring together all A&M donors in public.