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New ‘collective’ raises funds for NMSU athletes


As a result of a U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) ruling, an interim policy released by the NCAA and a new state law, A-Mountain Sports LLC NIL Collective was created in the spring of 2022 to compensate New Mexico State University student athletes for the use of athletes’ name, image and likeness (NIL).

Collectives are “groups of individual and business contributors aligned with particular schools,” said A-Mountain Sports volunteer director Paul Grindstaff.

The NIL acronym has jokingly been defined as “Now It’s Legal,” Grindstaff said, as the court ruling addresses a long-standing underground economy that has operated for decades at some universities with major sports programs.

For NMSU, the SCOTUS decision and the new state law – which A-Mountain calls “one of the best, athlete-friendly NIL laws in the country” – mean A-Mountain Sports can solicit private donations to directly support student athletes at New Mexico State.

“We’re in the game,” Grindstaff said.

Collective funds have already helped keep some football players at NMSU and have connected Aggie athletes with local and regional marketing opportunities, Grindstaff said. A-Mountain is also making Aggie student athletes more a part of their community, he said, connecting them with local nonprofits and charitable events in the area.

NMSU currently has 414 student athletes, Grindstaff said. As many as 50 “are currently enrolled as player partners with the collective, up from around 30 in 2022,” Grindstaff said.

 About 30 members of the Aggie football team, which won the Quick Lane Bowl Game in Detroit last December, are collective “player partners,” he said, along with more than a dozen members of the NMSU men’s basketball team.

A-Mountain also has “engaged female athlete player partners” at NMSU, Grindstaff said, and is working to create “a more pronounced NIL presence” for the Aggie women’s basketball and men’s baseball teams.

 A-Mountain Sports supports all men’s and women’s varsity sports at NMSU, Grindstaff said, but compensation “cannot be tied to athletic performance such as statistical achievement, wins or awards,” according to aggienil.com.

And, none of the money collected by A-Mountain comes from NMSU. The collective is a private entity, not part of the university, but serving as “the preferred and official NIL collective working with NMSU student athletes,” the website said.

A collective donor can support Aggie athletes in general or choose a particular university sport or individual athlete he or she wants to support.

A-Mountain Sports “has monthly membership levels that vary in amount, with individuals contributing from as low as $50 monthly to five figures monthly, and businesses contributing from as low as $100 monthly to five figures monthly,” Grindstaff said.

Grindstaff said the collective does not detract from NMSU-affiliated sports fundraising organizations like the Aggie Athletic Club (AAC), the 6th Man Club and the Goal Line Club.

A-Mountain sports recommends that its members be NMSU season ticket holders, join AAC and support a booster club, he said.

Most contributors to A-Mountain Sports are supporters of the clubs, the Aggie NIL website said, noting that the collective “is the initiative that raises funds that go directly to the student athletes.”

Businesses that join the collective can schedule appearances by Aggie athletes for marketing and promotional endeavors, and individual contributors can meet with player partners for a meal or just to talk, Grindstaff said.

Student athletes who join A-Mountain must sign an agreement that allows for cancellation of their collective membership if they violate the NMSU code of conduct on or off campus or fail to maintain their academic standing. All A-Mountain contracts are confidential, Grindstaff said.

To join the collective, visit aggienil.com/contact.

For more information, contact Grindstaff at 214-938-1252 and paul@gabbienil.com.

Visit aggieNIL.com, www.facebook.com/aggieNIL, www.instagram.com/amtnsports and @AMTNSPORTS on Twitter. Also visit nil.com.