Toledo NIL collective Friends of Rocky becomes first MAC collective

Toledo is the first MAC school to have a NIL collective. It’s called Friends of Rocky, referencing the school’s mascot, and it will support Toledo Rocket athletics. Friends of Rocky has a board of directors, while Toledo businessman Cleves Delp will chair the collective.

The group said it’s hoping to set the market rate for collectives in the MAC. For now, that going rate appears to be $1 million a year. It’s not a small number by any means. But it does pale in comparison to the $13 million that Ohio State head coach Ryan Day is looking for.

It’s Delp who set a goal of raising $1 million a year. He admits that this might be ambitious. But he said he thinks it’s possible. He said even if Friends of Rock doesn’t reach that goal, every other school in the MAC is going to be trying to keep up.

“The Friends of Rocky collective can be the gold standard for collectives in the country as we uphold the strictest standards for compliance reporting, structure and organization,” Delp told WTVG Toledo. “Our team will work tirelessly to engage with the community so that we may continue to support the fine student-athletes with permissible NIL programs across the region. I believe that having these student-athletes out in the community will lift up businesses, brands, and youth future Rockets as they aspire to become D1 student-athlete. I am proud that we are the first collective to launch in the Mid-American Conference.”

Delp said Friends of Rocky will help student-athletes at Toledo get NIL deals. Along with this, the collective intends on helping student-athletes with financial literacy.

About NIL collectives NIL collectives are groups of alumni, fans, and other supporters who come together to pool their money. That money is then distributed to student-athletes at the university that they support in the form of NIL deals. Those deals can vary, and include things likes autograph signings, camps, and speaking appearances.

No two collectives are alike. The size and scope of them tend to vary wildly. Some register as non-profits, while many others are marketing agencies.

Importantly, NIL collectives are not directly associated with a university. They’re not supposed to communicate with a program about prospects. Furthermore, they are not able to give out deals to recruits, in pay-for-play deals.

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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