The Ole Miss NIL collective exceeds 10 million dollars


The leader of the Ole Miss-affiliated NIL Collective says the organization has surpassed the $10 million mark – among the highest levels of “name, image and likeness” funding in the country.

The update from the Grove Collective, the organization that raises funds to distribute to Ole Miss athletes, comes as Rebels head football coach Lane Kiffin decides whether he will stay at Ole Miss or leave for SEC division rival Auburn, as reported in recent days. .

The availability of NIL funds has emerged as perhaps the most important factor for college athletes and coaches since the United States Supreme Court ruled in 2021 that players can be compensated for their likenesses. These funds are raised by collectives and used to pay college athletes for corporate sponsorships.

“We set a goal to hit the $10 million mark by the end of 2023. We hit it this week,” Grove Collective executive director Walker Jones told Mississippi Today on Wednesday. . “I think that compares to most other schools in our conference and most of the country.”

News from NIL could become a major factor in the coming days in Oxford, where major donors are gearing up for a possible nationwide search for coaches.

Supertalk’s Richard Cross reported last week that Ole Miss had offered Kiffin an extension to stay at Oxford to the tune of $9 million per year — a figure that would make Ole Miss’s third-year head coach one of the 10 highest paid in the country.

But on a Monday report reported that Kiffin will soon be leaving Ole Miss to become the next head football coach at SEC division rival Auburn. Kiffin has denied this report, but other reports reveal that Kiffin is Auburn’s top target and will be offered a big contract shortly – even bigger than the Ole Miss extension offer.

READ MORE: Conclusion on the NIL problem? Players set to share NCAA bounty

A higher annual salary would of course attract any college coach. But according to Kiffin himself, available NIL funds have become the primary consideration for coaches when deciding where to land or build a program.

“Before, it was the stadium, the conference, the pool of assistants, your salary… no. The first question should be, “What’s your NIL structure?” Kiffin told Sports Illustrated’s Ross Dellenger. in October.

Dellenger reported Oct. 31 that Auburn had announced more than $12 million in NIL pledges — still more than the $10 million Jones and the Grove Collective recently achieved. Other reports have suggested Auburn’s NIL figure is closer to $13 million.

But the leaders of most NIL organizations have been deliberately vague about how much money they have raised, phrasing publicly quoted figures with vague language and factoring long-term commitments into their totals.

“Some are putting out numbers, and it’s hard to know if they’re projections or what,” Jones told Mississippi Today. “To be clear, this $10 million represents either current cash on hand, annual and monthly cash flow from memberships, and the significant pledges we will collect by December 31. That is what we can show for now.”

Jones said the Grove Collective has partnered with more than 35 companies nationally, regionally and locally. These include companies like Realtree, Dunkin Donuts, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Wheels Up and Blue Delta Jeans.

Meanwhile, Oxford football fans will be watching Kiffin’s movements closely in the coming hours.

“Regardless of what happens in the coming days, Ole Miss fans should take comfort in knowing that they have a hugely competitive, well-funded and organized collective platform that will rival anyone in the world. SEC and across the country,” Jones said. “Our loyal fan base has stepped up and answered the call, and we’re still working hard to garner even more.”

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