Iowa State athletes will soon get even more opportunities to profit off of their name, image and likeness.
The We Will Collective, led by a group of Cyclone boosters and unaffiliated with the athletic department, launched over the weekend. Iowa State is the 63rd school-exclusive NIL collective and joins every team in the Big 12 in having a group that provides such opportunities.
The We Will Collective will use donations from fans to pay Iowa State athletes to participate in charitable events and help others in need.
“The way we structured this is we created a nonprofit organization. So every dollar that is given to the We Will Collective will go towards the student-athletes through name, image and likeness,” We Will Collective director Connor Greene said during an appearance on the Cyclone Fanatic Podcast’s Williams and Blum Pod on Sunday. “It’s connected to a charitable act or contribution. So we’re not going to just be handing money out to players in any capacity.”
Unlike some collectives across the country, the We Will Collective will be focused solely on athletes already at Iowa State and will not be used to entice athletes into joining the Cyclones, although it will obviously be a recruiting tool moving forward as something for prospective Cyclones to strive towards.
“We’re not interested in going and hopping in the transfer portal and trying to throw a bunch of money at some kid to come to Iowa State,” Greene said. “We take this as an opportunity and a platform to do a lot of good for our communities by encouraging our athletes to give back. I think that’s the core of what we’re trying to do here. I’m really excited about what we can do with this and hopefully be a beacon for college sports and say, ‘Hey, name image likeness is here and it’s changing everything. That doesn’t have to change who we are and what we stand for as a university.’”
Former Iowa State football coach Dan McCarney, and Cyclone Fanatic owner Jason Loutsch, are among the members of the We Will Collective board, which will help allocate the collective’s funds to athletes.
“It’s just a really cool thing anytime that you can help a university in a place that you love, and you care about so much,” McCarney said on the same podcast. “This is just another tool to retain our student-athletes, keep them in Ames and keep them at Iowa State.”
“It wasn’t a destination, Iowa State University, for student-athletes in many sports for a long time. It has been for quite some time now. It truly is right now a phenomenal destination for student-athletes to have that great college experience on the field, on the court, on the track, you name the sport, on the wrestling mat, and off of the mat and the fields and the courts. It’s a tremendous place. If I can help out in some way I want to be able to do that.”
The piece about retaining athletes at Iowa State is especially pertinent after last week’s news of star point guard Tyrese Hunter’s entry into the transfer portal, primarily due to a desire to seek further NIL compensation than was available in Ames.
Keeping athletes in Ames will be the collective’s primary goal in order to help build continuity within the programs and sustain success into the future while still putting money into athletes’ pockets.
“I think especially with NIL being paired with the transfer portal and the timing of the NCAA decisions, really, really emphasized that need right now,” Greene said. “We’re not interested in going and trying to recruit athletes at other schools with our big We Will Collective. We want to focus on the people who love being Cyclones, and the people that are doing a lot of good currently for the university and allow them to maximize their NIL opportunities to keep them here.”