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Coming soon to Purdue: Director of NIL engagement

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It is full-steam ahead at Purdue when it comes to embracing and integrating name, image and likeness.

In April, the athletic department launched the Boilermaker Marketplace, a NIL exchange that serves as a portal for local businesses and employers to connect with Purdue student-athletes.

Soon, Purdue will have a director of NIL engagement.

“The primary focus of the position will be outbound engagement, building relationships with different entities and individuals who want to engage with our student-athletes,” said Purdue Senior Associate Athletics Director - Strategic Initiatives/Chief Revenue Officer Tom Moreland.

Purdue created the position in partnership with The Aspire Group, an Atlanta-based sports consulting company that already works with the athletic department in the John Purdue Club and ticketing.

“The person will be responsible for building relationships in the community with a wide audience, business leaders, corporate partners, donors, pretty much any external body that is interested in NIL-related opportunities,” said Bill Fagan, the chief executive officer of The Aspire Group.

Purdue approached Aspire about starting the position, which is a first of its kind for the company.

"We've been working at Purdue for the last four or five years," said Fagan. "And our relationship is really focused on engaging externally. So, right now, we've got nine positions on campus. They're overwhelmingly focused on revenue generation and development activities.

"They're engaging with Purdue fans every single day, whether they are solving a ticket issue or to help them with their annual fund donation. Every John Purdue Club member and every season ticket member, and even just the casual fans, our staff is the primary external facing team."

Student-athletes could begin profiting off their name, image and likeness in July 2021. Many at Purdue already have taken advantage through various means, including The Boilermaker Marketplace. The director of NIL engagement will enhance that.

The Boilermaker Marketplace is a one-stop shop to assist in the creation of business connections. It streamlines payment and reporting processes, consolidates tax information and creates appropriate separation between Purdue and each student-athlete's pursuit of NIL opportunities.

“One of the things that (the director of NIL engagement) will be responsible for is getting more individuals and businesses to register in the (Boilermaker) Marketplace,” said Fagan. “And so that will be one area that we'll monitor to see how much that has grown. Because, at the end of the day, the more registrants in the Marketplace, the more opportunities there will be for the student-athletes to engage.”

This new position of director of NIL engagement will go beyond just helping cultivate NIL opportunities via the Boilermaker Marketplace.

“He or she will be a point guard, being in the community, building those relationships and seeing where people want to engage with Purdue athletics,” said Moreland. “For some people, it might be NIL opportunities through the Boilermaker Marketplace to engage with all of our student-athletes. They may want to engage with Purdue sports properties, multimedia rights opportunities or the John Purdue Club.

“They're going to represent all the different areas that people can engage with Purdue athletics with a primary focus on getting people involved with the Boilermaker Marketplace, and name image and likeness opportunities, which go beyond just sponsorship and social media deals that you read about in the media, to internship opportunities, career opportunities, just all those different opportunities that are available for them.”

Interviews will start soon and the plan is to have somebody hired this summer.

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