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Purdue AD Mike Bobinski: 'We've talked to two' collectives

A.D. Mike Bobinski and Purdue have had a level-headed approach when it comes to NIL and collectives.
A.D. Mike Bobinski and Purdue have had a level-headed approach when it comes to NIL and collectives. (USA Today)

MORE: NIL collective coming, will be built 'Purdue way'

Deliberate. Cautious. Thoughtful. Pragmatic.

Those words best describe how Purdue has approached collectives, the hottest gadget in this new world of Name, Image and Likeness meant to monetarily benefit student-athletes.

While Purdue still doesn't have a collective, other schools have sprinted to take the lid off, diving head first into collectives with big money seemingly used in dubious manners. Purdue A.D. Mike Bobinski's message to fans:

“I think my message is that the environment right now, everything is like the shiny new toy, at this point,” he told after Big Ten AD meetings on Tuesday.

“All you hear reported are these extremes. And everybody assumes that the extreme is the norm. Well, that's just not true. And sometimes what's reported is lacking in truth and substance, also. You can't allow yourself to get caught up in the emotion of the newness of all this.”

Purdue's level-headed approach when it comes to NIL and collectives has been a stark contrast to some of the wild stories of alleged illegal recruiting inducements fueled through collectives that have circulated in recent months.

“The Purdue community isn't one that immediately jumps forward and says: ‘Hey, let me throw a bunch of money at this and put money in students’ pockets just because,’ " said Bobinski. "That's just not who we are. I wouldn't want us to be that."

What are collectives? They are NIL vehicles that are independent of a university and can serve a variety of purposes. Most often, collectives are pooled funds from boosters and businesses to help facilitate NIL deals for athletes. They also create ways for athletes to monetize their brands.

When is Purdue going to get into the collective game?

“There are conversations that are occurring in real time as we speak here," said Bobinski. “I know that there's another one tomorrow down in Indianapolis that is occurring, sort of a next iteration of how that might evolve. There definitely are things in conversation at this point. And we're doing it in a thoughtful way. We're not just jumping to it.

“The Purdue folks that are interested in putting this together are asking our opinion, they're engaging us in what we think would fit. They're giving us their thoughts. At the end of the day, while we can't run these things--I don't want to run them--we certainly can help advise as to how they might put it together in a way that would be most beneficial. And we've had really good conversations about that.”

How many collectives is Purdue talking to?

“We've talked to two,” said Bobinski. “I think one has a lot more possibility to be what we're looking for. If that one is able to move in a good direction, that's a great start. And then build from there.”

Purdue has already started to build infrastructure to assist with NIL, a system launched last year to allow athletes to make money through a variety of ways—endorsements, camps, social media, appearances, etc.

But it’s the collectives that have created the most buzz across the nation. Specifically, collectives associated with some schools have been accused of being used as a recruiting inducement—which is against NCAA rules—instead of strictly for NIL purposes once an athlete is on campus.

“That doesn't fit Purdue," said Bobinski. "At the end of the day, though, we're positioning ourselves to compete. We intend to be competitive and to put ourselves in position to win at the very highest level possible. We're working hard to craft a structure and a program that will allow us to do that.”

Purdue has launched the Boilermaker Marketplace exchange with INFLCR. Its purpose is to serve as a portal for local businesses and employers to connect with Purdue athletes.

The tool assists in the creation of business connections, streamlines payment and reporting processes, consolidates tax information and creates separation between Purdue and each athlete's pursuit of NIL opportunities.

“We are not going to out NIL Alabama or whomever,” said Bobinski. “We're not going to do that. Just like right now, we're not up against Alabama on a lot of kids that if they're at that level, we're not going to win a lot of those. That's just the fact. We're gonna get that next level guy and then develop them, coach them up and then at the end of the day, turn him into a really good football player. That formula is not going to change.

“The way we get there has to be adjusted based on the environment around us and we're completely clued in and plugged in to what's happening, trying to craft that. And we've been on it for a long time.”

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