LOGAN – In the early days of Name, Image and Likeness money seeping into college sports, a poll indicated 67 percent of athletes who were already considering transferring said that NIL would play a role in their decision.
Aggie fans argue it is the lack of NIL funds that has driven some student-athlete stars right out of Cache Valley.
Just this weekend, Aggie defensive lineman Phillip Paea, who came to Utah State from Michigan two years ago, but had recently joined the transfer portal, announced on social media he was transferring to Oklahoma. That makes six Aggie defensive players who have left for the Big 12.
At a time when the Aggies appear to be most in need of it, help is apparently building in the form of “collectives”, groups of supporters, independent of the school’s department of athletics, who want to create the support here that athletes at other schools are enjoying.
Co-founded by Eric Laub and Coach Gary Andersen, @BlueACollective will empower USU athletes to monetize their name, image, and likeness while supporting the Cache Valley Community. #GoAggies pic.twitter.com/OTT3SBZ2C2
— Blue A Collective (@BlueACollective) May 30, 2023
Three collectives are already at work at USU: the Light It Blue Collective, a third party group added by Aggie athletics in February, the Blue-A Collective co-founded by Eric Laub and former head football coach Gary Andersen, and the Rocky Mountain Collective created by local businessman Dee Jones and officially launched on Friday, June 2.
Last week, Jones told a gathering of prospective members of his collective that at a recent meeting with Gary Andersen, they discussed joining forces.
“One thing led to another, we got together, decided the best thing for us to do would be to merge the two to make a very powerful collective,” Jones said, “rather than have two or three out there where people don’t know which one to give to. Now they would have one.”
Jones said a merger of the Blue-A and Rocky Mountain collectives would be built to benefit both USU football and basketball players.
He said across the country, at colleges with currently-functioning NIL programs, the average monthly stipend is $1200, about what Aggie athletes would receive.