UMass athletics officially endorse two local NIL collectives – GoMassNIL and The Massachusetts Collective


Staff Writer 

Published: 01-18-2023 5:07 PM

Since the NCAA removed the ban for student-athlete compensation in July 2021, the NIL era has quickly blossomed in college athletics. Student-athletes have now been afforded avenues to receive compensation for the use of their name, image or likeness.

It’s uncharted territory for those involved, but a couple groups of passionate fans and businesses have stepped up in an effort to help local student-athletes at the University of Massachusetts. They received an official endorsement from the school’s athletic department in a release issued Wednesday morning.

The UMass Athletic Department formally endorsing two local NIL collectives – GoMassNIL and The Massachusetts Collective. Collectives allow individuals and businesses to pool resources, whether those be financial, specific skills or time, to create more NIL opportunities for athletes at specific schools.

“As college athletics changes at a rapid pace, we want to continue our NIL education and student-athlete support efforts using a balanced, forward-looking approach so our students can effectively identify, assess and implement Name, Image and Likeness opportunities while operating within NCAA guidelines,” UMass Athletic Director Ryan Bamford said in Wednesday’s release. “Collectives have developed into an important component of the NIL  landscape and we fully support our student-athletes working with qualified collectives to monetize their NIL. These two new collectives have deep ties to the University of Massachusetts and will undoubtedly help enrich our Minutemen and Minutewomen in this new NIL era.”

The two local groups wanted to make sure they acted quickly and got in on the ground floor to help student-athletes access NIL deals. GoMassNIL is spearheaded by UMass track and field alum James Hunt, and allows for NIL deals for student-athletes in all UMass sports. The Massachusetts Collective, headed by Five College Movers founder Pat MacWilliams, is specifically working to broker NIL deals for players on the women’s and men’s basketball teams. Since launching two and a half months ago, The Massachusetts Collective has partnered with four athletes – women’s basketball player Sam Breen (and her dog, Turbo), and men’s hoop players Tafara Gapare, Noah Fernandes and Dyondre Dominguez.

“I'm very excited with what we accomplished, but I have really lofty goals for it, too…. But I think we're very happy with where we are membership-wise. We have about 220 members now, but we want that number to be double that by the [Atlantic-10 Conference Tournament],” MacWilliams said on Wednesday. “We think that with the official endorsement from Ryan and the athletic department, that further makes other people aware of what the NIL space is. So many people are still unfamiliar with what NIL is and how it will benefit student-athletes.”

McWilliams said he initially signed NIL deals with student-athletes for his company, Five College Movers, but after recognizing the potential that a larger group of people would have, The Massachusetts Collective was born.

“I thought it was important to get like-minded people and like-minded fans and businesses together and use the power of the community and the power of working together, using other resources that I might not necessarily have that somebody else does, and other areas of expertise and then combine those all,” MacWilliams said. “Not just money, but time, expertise, time to volunteer... combining that all with very passionate people together is what really made me think that The Collective is the way to go.”

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Since the UMass Athletic Department officially endorsed the collectives, MacWilliams said he’s heard from a number of existing members of The Collective, as well as national media and prospective members. He hopes that the endorsement will only help The Collective grow, in addition to offering more NIL deals for student-athletes.

“Our concentration right now is education, motivation and recruitment,” MacWilliams said. “By the beginning of next season, we want to have 500 members. At that point, we can really, really make a big difference in the NIL space and accomplish both the goal we have and that the athletic department has of pushing UMass basketball to the next level.”