Since July 1, 2021, college athletes have been able to financially profit off their name, image and likeness (NIL), opening a revenue stream that the NCAA previously considered taboo. Helping facilitate arrangements between athletes and businesses are NIL collectives, and on Monday one associated with the University of Minnesota was launched.
Dinkytown Athletes (dinkytownathletes.com), co-founded by former Gophers offensive lineman Derek Burns and Rob Gag, a lifelong supporter of the program, will work with athletes to connect them with the community for NIL deals that will include payments. The collective already has nearly 60 student-athletes from various sports involved.
Gophers football coach P.J. Fleck considers the collective's work essential, calling it, "incredibly important for the future of our program, important for college football and all student-athletes.''
"I can't say this enough how important this is,'' he said. "So, calling on all of our donors, our boosters, our fans, our alumni, anybody who supports our program to really look at this collective. It's a call to action to really support our student-athletes here at the University of Minnesota in this ever-changing landscape of college athletics. … It's incredibly important as we get into the roster management, building a roster of the future.''
Not focused on ranking
The Gophers on Sunday entered the Associated Press poll at No. 21, and Fleck spoke Monday about how being ranked benefits the campus as whole. As for his team, he wants his players to remain focused on the task at hand, Saturday's game against Purdue.
"That doesn't mean anything necessarily inside our program,'' he said. "We have a lot of guys who have had that happen before. They've been there. They understand how the external message will get louder, but the internal message has to be the loudest — period.''
Stripe the Bank
Saturday's 11 a.m. game at Huntington Bank Stadium is Homecoming for the Gophers, and the athletic department is calling for fans to "Stripe the Bank'' by wearing maroon or gold attire, depending on the section in which their seats reside. The stadium will have alternating sections with maroon and gold. To find out which section has which color, go to gophersports.com.
"Fans bases are what create energy in college football,'' Fleck said, adding, "I hope everybody has a great time with it and really buys into it.''
No word on Purdue QB
Purdue coach Jeff Brohm held his weekly news conference Monday but didn't have an update on quarterback Aidan O'Connell, who missed Saturday's 28-26 victory over Florida Atlantic because of an undisclosed injury.
"We'll see later on in the week where that's at,'' Brohm said.
Sixth-year senior Austin Burton started Saturday in place of O'Connell and completed 21 of 29 passes for 166 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.
"We're going to prepare like Aidan's going to play,'' Fleck said. "We've got to prepare if they have other quarterbacks play. That's not going to dictate their play-calling. I know Jeff really trusts his quarterbacks.''