The lawyer who brokered an $8 million deal between a 5-star rookie and a NIL collective last week believes the spending spree in the NIL space is just beginning – and future deals will only get bigger.
“I believe it’s going to keep going up for sure, no doubt,” attorney Mike Caspino said. “There will be deals and there will be bigger deals than that. We are like still in our infancy here. We have not yet reached adolescence in our NIL life.
Caspino represents a 5-star recruit from the Class of 2023 who has signed a deal with a collective NIL that could pay him more than $8 million before the end of his junior year as a varsity athlete. The deal was announced on Friday in a story posted by Athleticism. The identity of the player, as well as the NIL collective, has remained confidential, but Caspino has shared details of the deal which includes an upfront payment of $350,000, followed by monthly payouts that could net him over $8 million. by the end of the player’s junior year. University.
Caspino said he jumped into the NIL realm when his sons’ friends started inquiring about NIL offers as athletes. The Newport Beach, Calif. native now represents between 25 and 30 athletes across the country.
“The message needs to be sent to these athletes that it’s not a take-it-or-leave-it deal being handed to them,” he said. “They have to read it, understand it, and they have to make sure they push back against terms that they find objectionable.”
Caspino said he’s spoken to athletes with unilateral agreements that have left them without payment or worse: owing money. The NCAA allowed players to take advantage of their name, image and likeness in July. States enacted laws and several have since repealed those laws to provide more market freedom.
NIL collectives made up of big-budget boosters have sprung up across the country, and while the collectives aren’t allowed to be directly affiliated with a school, their allegiances are clear. Still, the NCAA’s minimum guidelines have made it clear that no inducements can be made to direct players to a certain school — at least in writing. Meanwhile, many athletes negotiate deals without a lawyer and agree to contracts that require reimbursement or a percentage of an athlete’s future earnings after college.
Many NIL collectives are not only well-funded, but also receive help from rabid fans with law degrees and decades of business experience. Think of them as Sport Super PACs.
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“You’re going to see explosions with that,” Caspino said. “I think you’re going to see huge issues with some of these deals, especially in light of the transfer portal and everything that’s going on there. And I think there’s going to be a call for regulation here, and the problem, as I see it, is that there’s tremendously little capacity to contract here. You have collectives with top lawyers with all kinds of savvy people, and then you can have a kid in high school or a kid who’s a freshman in college. Many of these children are very economically disadvantaged and they just don’t know. They will never be as savvy as the lawyers for these collectives, so there is an imbalance here that needs to be corrected one way or another.
Caspino said he is aware of athletes with deals that have not been paid, and that there is no legal recourse as the companies continue to use their image.
“I saw their contracts. They didn’t consult a lawyer. They just saw dollar signs and they signed a bad contract,” Casino said. “That’s my number one concern. I’m not representing the collectives, I’m representing the athletes. My job is to ensure their eligibility…and to have options. They’re going to become a servant under contract to someone.”
This is not to say that all NIL collectives or individual business owners or boosters take advantage of players. The NIL collectives in Tennessee and Florida have set fundraising goals of approximately $30 million per year. The end goal is clear: attract the best of the best to their favorite schools and win championships.
“We’re a fan club,” said Eddie Rojas, a financial adviser and former Florida pitcher who started Florida’s NIL collective. “We are here to provide fans with incredible experiences and opportunities.”
The Gator Collective raised more than $44,000 in subscription sales in January and employs between 10 and 15 professionals. They hope to open an office in Gainesville in the future.
“These collectives are extremely well funded by a network of alumni who previously couldn’t make these types of financial contributions to affect their teams and now they can,” Caspino said. “…If generous graduates are still there for this cause, then it will only go up and up.”