New WMU AD Dan Bartholomae on NIL Strategy and Plan for Sports Department’s $ 50 Million Donation

KALAMAZOO, MI – A year ago, the idea of ​​a college football quarterback signing a million dollar contract to play at a Mid-American Conference school would have seemed absurd.

But a new NCAA interim policy that allows players to receive compensation for endorsements has created a landscape where former East Michigan quarterback Charlie Batch can try to attract the best quarterback. from the country to Ypsilanti with a salary of one million dollars.

Long-term implications of this name, image and likeness policy (NIL) are uncertain, but if EMU boosters offer that kind of money, it is clear that all university sports departments must be prepared for a new era.

New West Michigan athletic director Dan Bartholomae shared insight into how the Broncos’ athletic department will handle NIL at Thursday’s introductory press conference, and the former deputy general manager of the Oregon State Sports said it revolves around the education of student-athletes.

“For me personally, I see this as an opportunity to educate,” he said. “We developed a plan at Oregon State that was focused on education, was a collaboration with the business college. He has provided courses for our student-athletes on marketing, branding, taxes, so I think that’s where we’re going to start – I’m still learning where we are, and I haven’t not all the information yet – but we’ll start with education, putting our student-athletes, who want to be entrepreneurs and be successful, able to be successful, if that’s what they choose to do.

Under the NIL policy outlined by the NCAA, student-athletes are required to report their NIL activities to their respective schools and follow legislation promulgated by the states in which their universities reside.

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation in December 2020 – Bill 5217, which is expected to take effect on December 31, 2022 – allowing college student-athletes to use agents and receive sponsorship money.

The bill prohibits universities from paying student-athletes directly for their name, image, and likeness, and it prohibits student-athletes from using any brand names, symbols, intellectual property, and logos. schools, associations or conferences in the endorsements. It also prohibits athletes from wearing individually sponsored clothing that conflicts with a team sponsor during team activities.

RELATED: Michigan Governor Whitmer signs law allowing varsity athletes to be paid for mentions

Bartholomae, who worked at the University of Pittsburgh’s NCAA compliance office prior to his move to Oregon State, said he supports the ability of student-athletes to make money outside of the ‘university.

“You talk to a guy who went through NCAA compliance, and in 2003-04 when I was just a young assistant director, I asked myself a number of questions – kinds of philosophical questions that I learned in those rules – and one of them was, “Why can’t student-athletes monetize themselves outside the institution?” They are not employees, but certainly outside of what they do on a daily basis like any other student, why don’t they have these opportunities? ” he said. “As that has evolved and we’ve come to terms with that as an industry, I’ve actually been encouraged by that acceptance.”

During the press conference, Bartholomae also addressed the $ 50 million donation the sports department received in June as part of WMU’s record $ 550 million donation, saying he did not know exactly how the money would be used, but which he had been concerned about frequently since taking the job on December 23.

“Everyone who applied for this position looked at this and said, ‘Wow, what a foundation,’ he said. “I’ve been here 72 hours. I can tell you that when I start to think about this and the opportunities that come with this gift, I think about bringing resources to fulfill the vision I have described.

“Master the country in the holistic development of our student-athletes; life skills and resources that could provide mentoring, personal development, mental health, competitive excellence; planning exercises in facilities and recruiting; staff development and the DCI (diversity, equity and inclusion) resources I spoke about – that staff morale and people feel empowered, of course, aimed at the success of those we teach, and who are student-athletes.

“And then, really just an opportunity for us to see it as venture capital. What can we invest in to galvanize the community and accelerate the growth of our resources? So this is exciting. I take notes every day.

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