UToledo Name, Image, and Likeness collective announced

TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo community leaders have partnered with Blueprint Sports to unveil ‘Friends of ‘Rocky’ – the first Name, Image and Likeness Collective supporting student-athletes at the University of Toledo.

‘Friends of Rocky’ is led by a board of advisors made up of local fans, alumni and donors, and chaired by Toledo supporters and Cleves Delp, long-time successful Toledo business executive for Rockets football.

“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. 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.” said Delp.

On the new ‘Friends of Rocky’ website, supporters have various options to engage to with student-athletes. It provides streamlined communications between regional businesses, brands, and Toledo Athletics student-athletes for marketing opportunities.

This can include online influencer campaigns, local appearances, youth sports coaching, charity event attendance and much more. One time or recurring crowdfunding and monthly “behind the red rope” memberships are available for exclusive access to various student-athletes.

“Through ‘Friends of Rocky’, we’re helping these student-athletes get a head start on their financial future, so it’s vital that they also understand sound financial practices early in life to help prepare them for the future,” added Delp. “That’s why our wealth management firm, TDC Investment Advisory, created a new program called RightTrak, a self-paced, digital financial education curriculum that will help these student-athletes understand the fundamental foundations of managing, protecting, and growing their wealth. Every student-athlete who is part of ‘Friends of Rocky’ will take this program. In the end, it’s about helping lead these young men and women towards a future of financial independence and success.”

Various former and current student athletes at the University of Toledo is excited to see this initiative come to life. Former Rockets All-Conference linebacker and fifth round draft pick in the 2022 NFL draft, Tycen Anderson, is excited for this change to come.

“I believe that NIL is such an opportunity for the student-athletes at Toledo. I know first-hand how much work and dedication go into being a Rocket, and now with Friends of Rocky, the community has an easy way to hire and support each of them directly,” said Anderson.

Rockets men’s basketball team is excited for ‘Friends of Rocky’ too. Rocket’s basketball forward, Sentric Millner Jr. said it’s a beneficial avenue to have access to.

“Myself and my teammates are so excited about Friends of Rocky,” said Millner. “It is a great avenue for us to get involved in the community, learn financial responsibility, and grow our brands. We all love this great community and are grateful to those who support us and this initiative.”