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Albany NIL

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5 hours ago, dslyank said:

Pro Sports have arrived 🤮🤑.  Do you really think it will make UA into a power 5 type program???????????😏

Of course not.  But I do believe in the saying "Adapt or Die". This is D1 sports. If you don't want to try and be successful then go back down to D3. 

We will see how it goes but at least on the surface it appears UA wants to be successful.  

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22 minutes ago, GreatDanes06 said:

Would someone be able to copy and paste the article or send to me for me to read. Don’t have TU subscription.

BY MICHAEL KELLY ALBANY — A name, image and likeness (NIL) collective is planning to launch soon to support the University at Albany men’s basketball program. Chris Wyatt, who played for the team from 2001-05, said in a recent interview that the formation of the Danes of Greatness UAlbany men’s basketball coach Dwayne Killings said he appreciates the care that is being taken with developing the NIL collective to support the Danes. collective has been in the works for more than a year.

“We’re looking to go live within the next few weeks,” Wyatt said Friday. “The website is built up. The infrastructure is set.” Since 2021, college athletes have been able to pursue NIL deals. Athletes are able to do that on their own, whether it’s through something such as an autograph signing or social-media promotion, but collectives — which operate independent from an aligned college or athletic program — offer fans and donors a way to pool together funds in support of their athletes.

“If you don’t have a collective now, you’re behind,” Wyatt said. “So the goal is to bring resources and tools to the basketball program.” “He sees what we’re trying to do,” UAlbany men’s basketball coach Dwayne Killings said. “He’s been brought in, he’s been behind the curtain, and he basically said, ‘Hey, I’m all in, and I want to try to help get the program to where it should be.’ He really loves the school, the athletic department and the people that represent it.” Wyatt said the Danes of Greatness will have several board members, and said they won’t be identified publicly until the collective officially launches later this month.

He said the collective does not have a goal for a dollar amount to raise in its first year, but that’s not for lack of ambition. “One of my visions is to treat this as a baby NBA team,” Wyatt said. NIL collectives are still relatively scarce at the mid-major level. The Saints March On collective that supports Siena College athletics launched in January 2023. At that time, an online database maintained by On3 — a national outlet that covers college athletics — showed there were a little more than 200 known collectives. In the 16 months that followed, approximately 50 more collectives have been added to On3’s registry, including the Grayed Danes Lacrosse Collective, launched in February 2023, to support UAlbany’s lacrosse teams.

“When these types of really seismic changes happen (in college athletics), typically, they start at the Power 5 level and kind of trickle their way down,” UAlbany athletic director Mark Benson said. “I think this got to our level a little quicker than people anticipated, frankly.” A Pennsylvania native, the 41-year-old Wyatt works as the vice president of sales for Sagebrush Health, which describes itself on its website as a “boutique healthcare system that offers exceptional care for Rheumatology, Neurology, Infectious Disease and infusion centers.” Since his years at UAlbany, Wyatt — who played in 104 games for the Great Danes — said he mostly lived in Los Angeles, but moved within the last couple years to New Jersey. Back on the East Coast, Wyatt said he started to reconnect with the school’s men’s basketball program. He said he attended a variety of games, home and away, this past season. “Coach ‘DK’ has been very welcoming to me, and that got me back involved,” Wyatt said.

When the collective launches, Wyatt said it will initially only offer support for the men’s basketball program. The next phase of it, he said, would grow to include women’s basketball. From there, Wyatt said the collective, which is set up as an LLC, could offer support to other sports at the university. Both UAlbany women’s basketball coach Colleen Mullen and Killings have discussed this spring the challenge now presented in recruiting without an active NIL collective backing their programs. Amid a relaxing of nearly all restrictions related to transferring, approximately 3,500 Division I men’s and women’s basketball players entered into the NCAA transfer portal during the 45-day window that closed this past Wednesday, and the potential for NIL dollars is a factor in where many players choose to head.

“This is probably one of the last years that something can’t be in place for us, and (we’d still) be able to get players out of the transfer portal,” Mullen said last month. Meanwhile, Killings said his program needed to back away from some players when it became clear that they were “looking for things outside of what we can offer them.” That’s been a challenge during a recruiting cycle that saw a number of scholarships open for the Great Danes as players headed into the transfer portal. “But I think right now, through the portal and (in) college athletics, it’s created this unique relationship between teams and fans, because fans want to win and teams want to win. Now, to do it, you need each other, because the teams that, honestly, put themselves forward the quickest are teams that have the most resources,” Killings said. “Now, not saying we can’t beat teams that have more resources than us, but they’re able to go after talent quicker because some of these kids are looking for NIL opportunities, they’re looking for resources, they’re looking for as much support as they can get.” The collective will offer help to athletes that goes beyond helping them make money. Wyatt said part of what the Danes of Greatness will offer is assistance to athletes with forming resumes, learning how to manage bank accounts and pay taxes, and other things to improve the “business acumen” of the players that become involved with it. “The goal for me, in terms of being the founder of the collective, is to bring deals for the players, find NIL opportunities, but also help them build skill sets through the collective for life opportunities — leadership skills, financial literacy, a variety of other tools that we can put together to help them beyond basketball, beyond Albany,” Wyatt said. “I think the most impressive thing about Chris is that he looks at things and says, ‘OK, I see the need and I have identified a process that can help us — but let’s make sure we’re doing it all right. Let’s make sure we’re dotting all of our Is and crossing all of our Ts before we get out there,’ ” Killings said of Wyatt.

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3 hours ago, UA1882 said:

Of course not.  But I do believe in the saying "Adapt or Die". This is D1 sports. If you don't want to try and be successful then go back down to D3. 

We will see how it goes but at least on the surface it appears UA wants to be successful.  

At some point; University Presidents or Board of Directors or State Governing Boards are going to see that there is not enough NIL or television or streaming money to support ALL Sports at ALL Schools.  Perhaps a few schools but most certainly not many will be able to do so. There will be so few, that those choosing this self destructive route, can have fun “playing with themselves.”

FACT NO (maybe a few) Schools in the country make money on college sports. How long do you think the few revenue generating sports are going to be happy carrying the rest. Eventually some real students are going to start wondering why their tuition is going towards paying for the tuition plus extra for a few. 
And if you want to get technical probably ½ or more professional teams either lose money or are supported by their respective leagues. Got to have enough teams to compete; and they don’t have to even worry about running multiple teams like colleges do. Unless of course you count the NBA that for perspective sake has to support the wnba. 

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I like the NIL idea Wyatt is proposing if I am reading correctly. We aren’t Duke or UConn and can offer big money to convince guys to stay and play…sounds like the NIL is going to setup a network that is going to specifically find NIL deals w companies etc. I love that he wants to throw in the education aspect of helping with taxes and financials. As a HS social studies/economics teacher, the idea of making sure these guys understand and know the financial literacy for long term success makes me love the mind set.

For a mid-major program, it’s not a bad model. The question is do players buy in (no pun intended). 

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On 5/6/2024 at 3:36 AM, GreatDanes06 said:

I like the NIL idea Wyatt is proposing if I am reading correctly. We aren’t Duke or UConn and can offer big money to convince guys to stay and play…sounds like the NIL is going to setup a network that is going to specifically find NIL deals w companies etc. I love that he wants to throw in the education aspect of helping with taxes and financials. As a HS social studies/economics teacher, the idea of making sure these guys understand and know the financial literacy for long term success makes me love the mind set.

For a mid-major program, it’s not a bad model. The question is do players buy in (no pun intended). 

Absolutely, you spot on that model has good value.

However, what I want to remind people, the social, economic and leadership skill sets that will part of this package is not new to this coach and university. Wyatt's statement: “The goal for me, in terms of being the founder of the collective, is to bring deals for the players, find NIL opportunities, but also help them build skill sets through the collective for life opportunities — leadership skills, financial literacy, a variety of other tools that we can put together to help them beyond basketball, beyond Albany,”  is a restatement of what Killings attempted in his first summer at UAlbany and, which I have seen and heard little since that first season.  Is the reason that few basketball players stayed around for a second season.

In the end what the UAlbany fan base is looking for and not necessarily in this order:

  • A group of student-athletes that can play as a team and be more competitive in and out of conference
  • Demonstrate a loyalty to the university and its fan base
  • Be the type of student-athlete model that our community can be proud of.
  • Accountability from university sports administrators and the MBB Coaching Staff

Only time will tell whether or not N-I-L Collective is successful and how inclusive it becomes of the greater UAlbany fan base.


Edited by cwdickens
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From today's Times-Union:

For college athletes, it’s free agency’ time

BY MICHAEL KELLY ALBANY — The list was long, littered with names of players to try to recruit. Each day, that list in University at Albany men’s basketball coach Dwayne Killings’ office would receive several more names. Most nights, when Killings was at home, he’d receive a text message from one of his assistants about another player or two to add to the list when he got back to the office the next morning. “So you’re constantly pivoting,” Killings said, “constantly moving with it.”

That’s one way to describe what’s been the state of college basketball — college athletics, really — over the past several weeks, an intense period of 45 days when the NCAA transfer portal was open and saw approximately 3,500 Division I men’s and women’s players pour into it. In terms of players entering the portal, that season started March 18 and the deadline for an athlete to inform his or her school of an intention to leave was this past Wednesday. Recruiting of those athletes continues, but the nonstop churn of players becoming freshly available ends, allowing coaching staffs to catch their breath a bit.

“Everyone waits for that date,” said Megan Methven, the UAlbany women’s basketball program’s associate head coach. “You just don’t want to miss anyone.” Nearly every Division I program in the country lost players this spring to the NCAA transfer portal, a tool launched in 2018 to help manage the increased ability of college athletes to transfer. For so long, any transferring Division I athlete had to sit out a year and could only transfer once.

Now, in an era in entered the portal. Now, she said, she’s come to accept that even if a player is happy and plays a lot, they may still leave. which the NCAA’s rules and regulations related to amateurism and eligibility are seemingly the constant subject of lawsuits — and courtroom concessions and losses — the college basketball offseason allows players to mostly be able to move freely from one school to the next, as often as they like, and increasingly with name, image and likeness (NIL) money attached to those decisions.

“Right now, it’s a free agency model, with no structure around it,” said Frank Ambrose, the co-founder of the Siena College-endorsed “Saints March On” NIL collective. That’s the environment athletes and coaches are navigating this spring across the country, the programs at UAlbany and Siena included. Of the 49 basketball players with remaining eligibility that ended the 2023-24 season on the rosters of the Great Danes and Saints, 27 of them opted to transfer. Those local numbers include scholarship and walk-on players but doesn’t include players who formally left their program during the season. Coaches, players, administrators and others tied to the sport generally described the portal season as a frenetic one, a super-charged period that takes the yearslong process of recruiting a high school player and condenses it into days or weeks.

“Nothing prepares you for how fast it moves,” said Jillian Huerter, a Shenendehowa High School graduate who transferred this offseason from Rutgers to Fairfield. And for Huerter, the connection to Fairfield was a relatively simple — and strong — one, since Stags coach Carly Thibault-DuDonis had recruited her before she committed to Rutgers. “Obviously, back then, she told us, ‘No,’ which we were bummed about,” said Thibault-DuDonis, whose MAAC program finished 31-2 this past season and earned its first national ranking. “But we want to play in that sandbox as much as we can.” That “sandbox” is one filled with players likely heading to play at a higher level out of high school, like Huerter did with Rutgers in the Big Ten. The reason to recruit a player likely heading to a stronger league, Thibault-DuDonis and other coaches said, can’t solely be about a potential re-recruitment down the road — but it’s also undeniably a factor in making that effort, and making sure “you don’t burn bridges” when that initial offer gets declined.

“As coaches, now, you have to assume some percentage of the kids you’re recruiting are going to transfer,” Thibault-DuDonis said. That knowledge, though, doesn’t necessarily make it easier for a coach when it’s one of their players leaving, even as transferring has become so common for programs of all sizes and levels of success. UAlbany women’s basketball coach Colleen Mullen’s program has won at least 22 games and appeared in a national postseason tournament in each of the past three seasons. That hasn’t stopped players — including some who played major minutes — from heading elsewhere. “And, at first, when the transfer portal came, and players were deciding to leave, it was hard for me,” Mullen said. “I took it very personally.”

At some point within the last year, Mullen said her attitude about that started to change. After the 2023-24 season, UAlbany lost standout freshman Deja Evans to the transfer portal — and then to Drexel in Philadelphia, much closer to the 6-foot-2 forward’s hometown of Conshohocken, Pa. — and Mullen understood she couldn’t dwell on that like she would’ve in past years. “What I’ve learned is that, even if they play a lot and they’re happy, they still may leave,” Mullen said. “This is what it is.”

Players have always departed from programs for a variety of reasons, but NIL dollars are becoming a much more common reason for a player to move along. Just within the past two offseasons, Jim Hart — the founder of the Albany City Rocks AAU program, which competes on the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League scene — said he’s noticed a difference on the men’s side in terms of players entering into the transfer portal. In 2023, Hart said he thought most players entering into the transfer portal could be lumped into one of three groups. “It was more or less people with a fifth year looking for a new option, people who didn’t get playing time at a high-major moving to a lower major and getting some money, or people at low-majors — who had really good years — looking to move up and get paid handsomely.”

This year, Hart saw the transfer portal season add another category, one that encompassed a lot more players. “It seemed like anyone who scored double-digits went into the portal to see what else was out there, and I thought that was crazy,” Hart said. But … “In almost every case,” Hart said, “you’ll get paid more to leave.”

Without naming the player, Hart said he had one former City Rock go from an NIL deal around $12,000 to one at a new school that’s “well above $100K.” Most players, though, are not getting deals worth that much money — especially at the mid-major level.

Locally, the only active collective supporting basketball team is Saints March On, which Ambrose said had NIL deals during the 2023-24 school year with approximately 20 Siena athletes split between the school’s basketball and lacrosse squads. (Ambrose did not disclose how much money individual athletes received as part of their deals, other than that the largest deals went to men’s basketball players Sean Durugordon and Michael Eley, both of whom left the program this offseason.)

In all, Ambrose said the Siena-aligned collective raised approximately $100,000 for the current school year. Originally, the goal for 2024-25 was to raise $150,000 — but the collective jumped that to $200,000 after the school hired former Syracuse star Gerry McNamara to be its new head coach in March.

“Gerry presents a unique opportunity to draw in more interest around this,” said Ambrose, who also said Saints March On is seeking a way to make donations to it tax-deductible in order to “help increase the donor pool.”

At the moment, UAlbany does not have a collective that supports its basketball teams — but that appears poised to change. Former UAlbany men’s basketball player Chris Wyatt recently confirmed that he’s starting up the Danes of Greatness collective to support the program, with plans to launch within the next few weeks.

For now, though, Killings’ Great Danes don’t have a collective behind them, which means their recruiting during this period of transfers had to take that into account. At the mid-major level, a consensus — for now — is that NIL conversations generally happen more toward the end than the beginning of recruiting, but Killings said his program has needed to keep in mind whether a potential player is “looking for things outside of what we can offer them.”

Between players either transferring or exhausting their eligibility, the Great Danes lost eight of their top nine scorers from a team that finished 13-19 — so Killings and his coaching staff had plenty of work to do this offseason. One of Killings’ priorities, though, was making sure his program didn’t overreact when faced with so many scholarships to fill.

“It can all change really, really fast — so you don’t want to move too fast, to just fill them,” Killings said. “You need to find the right kids. To do that, I think you’ve got to have some patience. You’ve got to stay with it. You’ve got to grind this thing out. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Move too quickly, too, and a coaching staff can ruin its chances quickly with a potential recruit. Huerter, a guard who took 78.2 percent of her shots from 3-point territory this past season, said one school reached out to her, presumably just after seeing she is 6 feet tall, and told her she “looked like a great post player.” So, a laughing Huerter said, “some confusion” can occur with the speed of portal recruiting.

UAlbany’s offseason demonstrated how quickly things can change. The Great Danes spent the opening weeks of the transfer portal window losing players — then, one day, within hours of each other, picked up a pair of commitments from possible 2024-25 starters in DeMarr Langford Jr. and Kacper Klaczek, both joining the Great Danes from higher-level leagues. Those additions changed the dynamics of the Great Danes’ offseason; the team still needs more ready-to-go players with five scholarships to fill, but also has a couple perimeter players around which to build.

Being one of those early commits was important, too, for Langford. He declared for the NBA draft after a promising 2021-22 campaign, then returned to college with a couple seasons that were slowed by injury and illness. The chance to win an America East championship is something Langford said he values, but he also desired a chance to “showcase his talent” during his final college season.

“One of the best things about joining a team with not too many guys yet is the coach can build around you,” said Langford, a 6-foot-5, 230-pound guard who previously played at Boston College in the ACC and Central Florida in the Big 12. “You commit earlier, the coach can find pieces to fit around you.”

For Killings, those pieces came from that list of players, which kept growing throughout the past two months. Killings estimated that his coaching staff took “seriously” more than 100 players during the height of portal season, a figure more than double what it did a season ago.

“Everybody’s fighting to rebuild their rosters through the portal and find their way,” Killings, 43, said, “and I think the kids are adapting to … the new norm. … When I first got to campus here (in 2022) and was given the opportunity to lead the program, every single moment that has gone by, each offseason, the business has changed drastically.

“And you’ve got to be able to adjust. That’s what it’s all about now.”

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IMHO. NIL & the Portal are the END of COLLEGE basketball & football PERIOD. IF the ncaa can get any relief/help from the courts, college sports minus BB/FB "may" survive in some format????

I see the need for UA to join the bandwagon; but IMHO only the RICH will get richer from this new model. Even at the highest levels, few if any Colleges make money on athletics. At the mid/low major and even the poorer power 5; there simply is NOT enough tv/steam/nil money to support College Sports OVERALL. Article after article, coaches at ALL levels predicting program cuts and less athletic sports offerings. At mid/low/P5 bottom dwellers there will be NO CHANCE to compete in BB/FB. It took years for a 16 to knock off a 1, you will never see it again. Might as well form bowl and champ divisions [DI, DI.A, DI.AA, etc.] 

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