Story Poster
Photo by Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Texas A&M Football

12th Man+ Fund: 12th Man Foundation to offer NIL opportunities through donors

February 15, 2023
15,280

The 12th Man Foundation has launched the 12th Man+ Fund, which will allow donors to give gifts earmarked for NIL opportunities for Texas A&M student-athletes. In an exclusive sitdown, Michael Solomon and Brady Bullard explain why 12th Man+ is such a unique opportunity.



Michael Solomon - Senior Vice President of Annual Fund and Donor Services

  • It's a big day. Happy birthday, Billy. We didn't plan for this to happen on your birthday, but what a present to you. Big game at Reed Arena tonight as well. In all seriousness, the 12th Man+ Fund launching today is the culmination of a lot of work. The 12th Man Foundation has been taking a look at what has happened in college athletics over the last two almost years, with NIL becoming a thing in the summer of 2021. We've seen what TexAgs has done with Stacked. There was an evaluation that heated up last summer. We looked at whether there was a chance for the 12th Man Foundation to get involved in this new era of college athletics, and that process over the last six or eight months has been pretty exhaustive.
     
  • This is unique. We are not the only institutions that has the setup that we have, but we are one of few. Being a separate 501(c)(3) organization that is affiliated with Texas A&M is interesting. We have almost a 75-year history of funding scholarships for Texas A&M student-athletes, buildings and the construction of facilities. As our analysis happened and as the conversations around NIL were happening, donors were asking if this NIL thing was something the 12th Man Foundation could do. We dug a little deeper. We did not jump in on day one. We analyzed it and ask the right questions. We talked to people in the industry. We are a 501(c)(3), so what does that mean for our non-profit status? How could we stand something like this up? This process started in earnest last summer. Within our organizational process, we have a committee that looked at this. We analyzed all of the ins and outs and what would be permissionable for us to do. From there, it was communicating with the athletic department and the university. We want to make sure we're following all the rules and don't want to put anything in jeopardy for Texas A&M. We informed the people that needed to know. We let the athletic department know that this was something we were looking at doing, and after that, the NCAA and SEC were informed. Here we are, launching the 12th Man+ Fund today. It’s the culmination of a lot of work.
     
  • Everything and anything. It's going to evolve. We could talk about what it looks like, and who knows what it looks like in six months. Initially, we're looking at social media, and some of that will depend on the student-athlete and their persona online, their following and their reach. It could extend to things like appearances at donor events, videos and things that can be used to spread our message. We’re going to spread the word of the 12th Man Foundation to Aggies everywhere. You have two opportunities here: The chance for the student-athlete to utilize their NIL to earn some funds, and secondly, the chance for the organization, the 12th Man Foundation, to broaden our reach. It’s a win-win.
     
  • When you think of the 12th Man Foundation, we have a 73-year history of fundraising. It’s not a new operation, and there is nothing wrong with an operation that was just stood up in the last two years. We have a reputation. Donors are comfortable giving their hard-earned money to the 12th Man Foundation. That’s one that differentiates this from the collectives. You're giving this money, and we're going to use those dollars to market our mission. It's self-fulfilling. You’re giving the money and helping the mission that you already believe in. By the way, student-atheles are going to benefit as well. When you compare that to collectives — there is nothing wrong with them, and they exist and are exist and doing good things — but we have benefits. We have priority points, which dictate where your parking is assigned and what kind of tickets you get when, hopefully, Buzz and the basketball team make a run in March.
     
  • From day one to day 30 or 60, it's going to evolve. Thinking of the buckets of people, some of those people may move as we move. How it looks today in mid-February, it might look different in the summer. The 12th Man Foundation is prepared to evolve with it. We know to go to market today. We have a product with the 12th Man+ Fund. Down the road, maybe some of people will move into different buckets as this thing goes along.
     
  • We've got a great set of student-athletes on campus. Look across all of the rosters. We have great student-athletes, and those that will best represent the 12th Man Foundation will rise to the top. When we look at each roster, we can decide who has the reach and representation that we’re looking for. We want to represent this organization that has been around for so long. It will work itself out. As we do that analysis and see the student-atheltes that are available, that's when we'll make decisions. Other athletes might be raising their hands as well and say that they’re interested and can bring reach to the 12th Man Foundation.
     
  • Why did you wait so long to start this? We want to make sure we're doing it the right way, so if we're going to contract a student-athlete to market the 12th Man Foundation, we want to do it the right way. What is a tweet worth? What is an Instagram post worth based on your following? What does a student-athlete bring to the table with marketability? Maybe there are different tiers of student-athletes, but we’re talking about real marketing activities and compensation for those. There are going to be good industry standards in college athletics and NIL, and that’s coming. You can look at other industries and find out. What does Billy Liucci get paid to promote the jacket he's wearing What’s an appearance worth? What is a speaking engagement worth when you have 500 people in a room that you’re going to speak to? We're going to build that, put together a rate sheet and compensate student-athletes through that. It’s not going to be willy-nilly. Somebody with a larger following might have to do less volume than someone with a smaller following.
     
  • We’re open for business. 12thManFoundation.com. We're ready to take gifts. You can call our office at 888-99-AGGIE. We can't contract with any student-athletes until we raise some money. We are fundraisers. That’s our day job.
     
  • I'm going to stop by the basketball game tonight, and I'm going to have my device and make sure some gifts come through. We're excited to host some donors this evening and have our president, Travis Dabney, and athletic director Ross Bjork talk about the 12th Man+ Fund with some donors pregame. Then we’re going to watch the Ags hopefully beat the hell outta Arkansas.

Brady Bullard - Senior Vice President of Major Giving Programs

  • I’m sure it was very similar for TexAgs with Stacked. You weren’t the first to jump in that space. You wanted to evaluate. That’s what we’ve been doing. Being a foundation and a separate 501(c)(3) that is affiliated with Texas A&M University but separate in appearance and fact gives us a unique opportunity to be able to execute NIL, and it could quite frankly give us a competitive advantage over a number of other institutions.
     
  • One, our donors and supporters are the best in the world. We all know that. We could never thank them enough. They will have the opportunity to make a contribution to the 12th Man Foundation, a philanthropic contribution, and that donor get a tax receipt and priority points. They’ll be able to give and restrict those dollars for a sport through NIL. You can’t give to a specific student-athlete yet. You can't designate your money to Evan Stewart, but you can give your NIL gift to football. We’re going to contract with student-athletes, and they will market the 12th Man Foundation. We are going to engage in NIL contract, and they will market our organization.
     
  • We're in the relationship business, and that 73-year history is part of that. People were saying we weren't going fast enough, and others said we should do this at all. I think we would be foolish not to acknowledge that NIL is here. When we're look back 10 years from now, the 12th Man Foundation wants to be part of what college athletics looks like in the NIL era. You can put our donors or members into four buckets with this. Some will not want to be participate, and that’s the first bucket. They don’t like it. They’ll keep buying their season tickets and giving to scholarships, but they don’t like NIL. It has changed the game, and people might be against it. Another bucket might get it, but they won’t give to 12th Man+. Another bucket will get it and support it in a small way, and the last bucket will see that we have to do this and do everything they can to help. The good news for us as a charitable organization and all of the things we do, this is just another opportunity. If it's not your cup of tea, that's OK. The 12th Man Foundation is embracing it, and we’re jumping in.
     
  • You might know better than us from a social media standpoint and what their following is and how they’re engaging. We’ll be looking for that, amongst other things, for who we select and who we contract with.
     
  • They’ll be marketing the 12th Man Foundation. Hopefully, our message gets to a broader audience through the student-athlete.
     
  • We're excited. We're embracing it. It's a great opportunity. The way we partner with TexAgs and your audience, all of that continues. We're excited and think it's a great opportunity for our donors and our fanbase. Let’s go.
     
  • We have to have cash in a bank to sign that first contract.

Learn more about the 12th Man+ Fund HERE

Discussion from...

12th Man+ Fund: 12th Man Foundation to offer NIL opportunities through donors

6,268 Views | 4 Replies | Last: 1 yr ago by 12thMan9
Aginnebraska
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Donated. If just 100,000 A&M alumni donate $150 per year...its $15MM for student athletes NIL deals. And you can direct the $ into the sport/sports of your choice. Seems like a great way for lots of people to leverage up the value of their small denomination donations...to help us keep/retain the best athletes .
AG81
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Aginnebraska said:

Donated. If just 100,000 A&M alumni donate $150 per year...its $15MM for student athletes NIL deals. And you can direct the $ into the sport/sports of your choice. Seems like a great way for lots of people to leverage up the value of their small denomination donations...to help us keep/retain the best athletes .


Okay, first, I have no problem with what the 12th Man is doing. It's legal and unregulated. I expect both issues to change at some point though. But for now, more power to them. Second, I have to laugh every time I see something like "if X number of people gave only Y dollars, we would raise Z". Never, in the history of fundraising has that EVER worked. You'll have to trust me on that. Or, go look at the Association of Former Students Annual Report. They spend a lot of time and effort to get Aggies to give back to A&M and they don't get CLOSE to 100,000 donors and their average gift barely tops $170. Then there's the cost to raise that money.

So, there aren't 100,000 Aggies will donate ANY amount to A&M, much less for this effort why would anyone think otherwise? That said, I don't doubt the $15 million figure. We could easily get there, but 80% of it will come from fewer than 30 people, particularly if donors get priority points. You'll probably have to trust me on that too.

Aginnebraska
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
AG81 said:

Aginnebraska said:

Donated. If just 100,000 A&M alumni donate $150 per year...its $15MM for student athletes NIL deals. And you can direct the $ into the sport/sports of your choice. Seems like a great way for lots of people to leverage up the value of their small denomination donations...to help us keep/retain the best athletes .


Okay, first, I have no problem with what the 12th Man is doing. It's legal and unregulated. I expect both issues to change at some point though. But for now, more power to them. Second, I have to laugh every time I see something like "if X number of people gave only Y dollars, we would raise Z". Never, in the history of fundraising has that EVER worked. You'll have to trust me on that. Or, go look at the Association of Former Students Annual Report. They spend a lot of time and effort to get Aggies to give back to A&M and they don't get CLOSE to 100,000 donors and their average gift barely tops $170. Then there's the cost to raise that money.

So, there aren't 100,000 Aggies will donate ANY amount to A&M, much less for this effort why would anyone think otherwise? That said, I don't doubt the $15 million figure. We could easily get there, but 80% of it will come from fewer than 30 people, particularly if donors get priority points. You'll probably have to trust me on that too.


Just put your $ in the brown paper bag like the rest of us...even small donations from a lot of people will make a big difference to some player. Is that better?
12thMan9
How long do you want to ignore this user?
AG
Aginnebraska said:

AG81 said:

Aginnebraska said:

Donated. If just 100,000 A&M alumni donate $150 per year...its $15MM for student athletes NIL deals. And you can direct the $ into the sport/sports of your choice. Seems like a great way for lots of people to leverage up the value of their small denomination donations...to help us keep/retain the best athletes .


Okay, first, I have no problem with what the 12th Man is doing. It's legal and unregulated. I expect both issues to change at some point though. But for now, more power to them. Second, I have to laugh every time I see something like "if X number of people gave only Y dollars, we would raise Z". Never, in the history of fundraising has that EVER worked. You'll have to trust me on that. Or, go look at the Association of Former Students Annual Report. They spend a lot of time and effort to get Aggies to give back to A&M and they don't get CLOSE to 100,000 donors and their average gift barely tops $170. Then there's the cost to raise that money.

So, there aren't 100,000 Aggies will donate ANY amount to A&M, much less for this effort why would anyone think otherwise? That said, I don't doubt the $15 million figure. We could easily get there, but 80% of it will come from fewer than 30 people, particularly if donors get priority points. You'll probably have to trust me on that too.


Just put your $ in the brown paper bag like the rest of us...even small donations from a lot of people will make a big difference to some player. Is that better?


We don't use bags anymore. Gift cards are much more difficult to trace.
Ronnie '88
Refresh
Page 1 of 1
 
×
subscribe Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.