‘Friends of Spike’ NIL Collective Formed to Benefit Gonzaga Student Athletes

The latest NIL collective (we’re tracking all the NIL collectives here) has been formed to benefit Gonzaga student athletes: Friends of Spike.

The initiative is made possible by long-time GU supporters Gee Automotive, Washington Trust Bank, The Wolff Company and Dealers Auto Auction, along with former GU men’s basketball player Matt Santangelo and former GU women’s basketball player Shaniqua Nilles.

Powering “Friends of Spike” will be NIL technology and marketing agency, Blueprint Sports, led in Spokane by Matt Santangelo and Shaniqua Nilles.

“As former student-athletes here in Spokane, we know firsthand how much of an impact we can have on the community and the world,” agreed Santangelo and Nilles. “Whether a student-athlete goes pro or not isn’t the point of participating in collegiate sports. Thanks to this long-overdue interim NIL policy by the NCAA and now by the State of Washington, current and future student-athletes at Gonzaga have the largest stage in history to share their favorite brands with fans and, most important, invest in their own future. We were fortunate to represent Gonzaga on the court and worldwide as we played professional basketball. We’re excited to watch the Zags community grow across the nation and worldwide as these student-athletes continue to excel,” they added.

Gonzaga fans and supporters can make a one-time contribution or browse through student athletes who’ve opted into the program in order to work directly with them to promote your brand or business, hire them to coach your child, get a personalized video and more.

Friends of Spike says contributions will create opportunities for in-person engagements in the community such as meet & greets, watch parties, and charity work. Additionally, Friends of Spike’s team will help facilitate youth sports programs, speaking engagements, and corporate advertising campaigns. There will also be opportunities in the future for exclusive student-athlete content, merchandise, and giveaways.

Mike Smith

General Manager

Mike Smith joined Micconope 1851 in March 2023 and is excited to be the General Manager and looks forward to working with Blueprint Sports increase NIL revenue generation for Florida State University student-athletes. Smith comes to Micconope 1851 from Catawba College where he held the title as the Senior Director of Athletics, Development. Prior to working in Athletics at Catawba College, Mike served as the Associate Athletics Director for External Relations at Charleston Southern University. Smith has an impressive background in the collegiate athletics industry, having held senior level development and corporate sponsorship sales roles at The University of Southern Mississippi, Limestone University, the Sun Belt Conference, Florida Atlantic University, and with multimedia rights-holders Tele South Communications at the University of Mississippi, Learfield Sports at UNC Chapel Hill, and with International Sports Properties at Georgia Tech. Smith is a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and holds a master’s degree in Business Management from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his new role here at Micconppe 1851, Smith will be responsible for raising major gifts for NIL deals as well as securing NIL corporate sponsorships for Florida State University student-athletes. Mike looks forward to helping ensure the FSU student-athletes have the resources and leadership opportunities to remain competitive nationally and positioned for success well beyond graduation. Mike is married to Katy Smith; the couple looks forward to relocating to Tallahassee, Florida, and becoming a part of the Micconope 1851 and Seminole family!

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