Spokane, WA (March 1, 2022) – Today, key community supporters of Gonzaga University student-athletes unveiled “Friends of Spike,” the first significant Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) collective supporting men and women’s basketball and other sports. The initiative is made possible by long-time Gonzaga University (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.

On June 30, 2021, the Division 1 Board of Directors approved an interim name, image, and likeness policy. This new policy allows all NCAA D1, D2, and D3 student-athletes to be compensated for their NIL as of July 1, 2021.

“Friends of Spike” is the bedrock to providing a long-term and organized NIL program around GU student-athletes. Supporters of the men and women who represent Gonzaga athletics as student-athletes now will be able to engage directly with athletes for corporate advertising campaigns, youth sports coaching sessions, brand representation, merchandising programs, speaking appearances and more.

Powering “Friends of Spike” will be NIL technology and marketing agency, Blueprint Sports (BPS), 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 student-athletes have begun joining the platform to ensure they can participate in the opportunities presented by the “Friends of Spike” collective.

About Friends of Spike Friends of Spike is a collective connecting student-athletes at Gonzaga University with business opportunities under the NCAA’s new Name, Image and Likeness rules. Businesses wishing to engage and work with student-athletes at Gonzaga University are invited to visit

About Blueprint Sports Founded in Las Vegas in 2020, Blueprint Sports (BPS) powers industry-leading name, image, and likeness (NIL) collectives for Alumni, Fans, and Businesses around student-athletes at their favorite university, with a management team possessing more than 50 years of college and professional sports agency and digital brand experience. For more information on Blueprint Sports, visit

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