Wildcats’ Den NIL Collective Locks New Partnership With Blueprint Sports

Collective will relaunch with an increased focus on community engagement and increased support from K-State alumni

Manhattan, Kansas – March 2, 2023 – Blueprint Sports, the industry leader in full-service Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) collectives, is teaming up with Wildcats’ Den -- the first NIL collective supporting student-athletes at Kansas State University (K-State).

Originally launched by Aaron Lockett in April 2022, Wildcats’ Den will continue to support K-State football student-athletes, in addition to women’s volleyball. Lockett has deep roots in K-State football, playing as a wide receiver from 1998 to 2001. He was a four-time All-Big 12 selection and was selected as a second-team All-American in 2000, before being drafted into the NFL by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2002. “Opportunities are unlimited at Kansas State with so many alumni, partners, and supporters. As student-athletes create connections with local companies and attend community events, they need the Wildcats’ Den to maximize their possibilities,” said Lockett. “I want to help our student-athletes and their families because they deserve more for their hard work and devotion.” In addition to Lockett, the partnership with Blueprint Sports brings other notable names in the K-State family including former football player and co-founder of the K-State Staley School of Leadership Chad Faulkner and Steve Miller, former Athletic Director at K-State. Miller currently serves as chief executive officer for the Andre Agassi Foundation for Education, a founding partner of Blueprint Sports.

“The introduction of NIL into the landscape of college athletics has presented the greatest opportunity to date for individuals and companies looking to support student-athletes,” said Miller. “The Wildcats’ Den will set the example for how to best work with student-athletes at K-State and engage the community at the same time.” Through the Wildcats’ Den individuals can make tax-deductible contributions through the BPS Foundation, a 501(c)(3) partner organization formed to educate, encourage, and assist student-athletes in their efforts to engage with the local community through charitable causes. Additionally, local and national businesses can align their brands with K-State student-athletes by creating custom marketing campaigns, planning speaking engagements, autograph sessions, participating in charity events, and more. For more information visit and follow @WildcatsDenKSU on Twitter and @wildcatsden7 on Instagram.

About Blueprint Sports

Founded in Las Vegas in 2020 and backed by Andre Agassi, eight-time Grand Slam tennis champion, Blueprint Sports (BPS) powers the industry's leading name, image, and likeness (NIL) collectives for alumni, supporters, and businesses, connecting them with student-athletes at their favorite university. BPS' national portfolio of collectives supports student-athletes across the country, including around Florida State University, Penn State University, Boston College, NC State University, Villanova University, Gonzaga University, University of Arizona, University of Tennessee, University of Nevada Las Vegas, University of Nevada, Ohio University, University of Toledo, Montana State University and more. The Blueprint Sports management team possesses over 50 years of college and professional sports experience, spanning the Pac-12 Conference, IMG, Learfield, and Nevada Athletics Commission, among others. For more information, visit or its pages on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

About Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) On June 30, 2021, the Division I Board of Directors approved an interim name, image, and likeness policy. This new policy allows all NCAA DI, DII, and DIII student-athletes to be compensated for their NIL as of July 1, 2021. Student-athletes can now engage in paid community appearances, autograph sessions, youth coaching engagements, and sports marketing campaigns.

# # #
Media Contact:
Gracie Gordon-(775)720-9951/

Nate Brown

General Manager

Nate Brown is the General Manager of Zags Collective, leading the charge to help amplify the opportunities for the Gonzaga student-athletes through NIL partnerships with local charities, fans and businesses. With over a decade of experience in the professional sports industry and as a former business owner in Spokane, Nate is a seasoned professional who knows what it takes to succeed. Most recently, he served as the National Sales Director for a prominent west-coast real estate company, where he was responsible for driving growth and retention. With a deep understanding of sales and marketing, Nate brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and is always seeking innovative ways to drive revenue and create partnerships.With a passion for ensuring the success of student-athletes both on and off the field, Nate is dedicated to providing the necessary resources to keep Gonzaga competitive on the national stage. He understands the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships with the community and local businesses, and works to maximize opportunities for Gonzaga’s student-athletes. As the son of two Gonzaga alumni, including a father who was a baseball pitcher and also a coach for the school, Nate has a great connection to the university and a passion for ensuring its continued success. Outside of work, Nate enjoys spending time with family, including his wife Jessica and their 16-year-old daughter Brooklynn and 12-year-old son Marcus. When not working or spending time with family, you can find Nate at any one of the amazing golf courses in Spokane, honing his swing!

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!

Contact Us Now!