Organization strategy

Initiative Renamed KU NIL Announces Major Donation and Establishment of Non-Profit Organization

The University of Kansas’ name, image and likeness efforts took a big step forward on Wednesday with the announcement of a major gift, a rebranding effort and the creation of a purpose-driven organization. nonprofit called Reaching Champions Joining Hearts (RCJH).

All will work together to provide NIL opportunities for KU student-athletes in all sports.

“We’ve done quite a bit in the NIL space quietly and there’s been a lot of progress,” RCJH general manager Matt Baty said. “But now it’s time to shout loudly that we have made huge progress, here are our programs and this is how you can get involved.”

The initiative is led by Baty, who previously co-founded the Wichita-based organizations 6th Man Strategies and 12th Man Strategies which handled much of the NIL transactions for KU’s men’s and women’s basketball programs and KU soccer. Kansas.

These names, however, are no more. The rebranded initiative will now be known as Mass Strategies, a for-profit entity that will oversee KU’s NIL efforts and pay tribute to Lawrence’s Massachusetts Street.

The first major move announced by the organization came in the form of a $1.5 million donation from Ripple CEO and KU alum, Brad Garlinghouse.

According to a press release announcing the move, the RCJH “will focus on uniting student-athletes with local charities, to raise awareness of their missions and support their volunteer efforts.” The release notes that KU student-athletes will be compensated for their time, personal appearances, and promotion of programs and events benefiting charities, in accordance with NCAA NIL rules and regulations.

“RCJH’s work will be essential both in supporting local causes and in helping student-athletes access opportunities and partnerships that they are passionate about,” Garlinghouse said in the statement. “It’s a chance to embrace the new era of college athletics.”

To that end, Baty said the newly appointed Mass Strategies is proud of its efforts so far with men’s and women’s basketball and soccer and excited for what the future holds for these athletes and others at KU.

“Ultimately, our goal is to have programs in place that all 550 student-athletes can participate in,” Baty said.

He added that while KU’s NIL efforts seemed to evolve slowly in the public eye, much of that had been intentional, with Kansas Athletics Inc. preferring to be more conservative with its initial approach and much of the work done behind them. scenes through connections, contacts and conversations with potential fans, athletic department officials, student-athletes and more.

“It’s just not the Kansas way. It never was,” Baty said of the idea of ​​trying to make a splash or win a press conference. “So we’re doing things with due diligence, we’re doing things with a compliance lens, and making sure I’m dotted, our t’s are crossed, and we’re protecting these student-athletes.”

Mass Strategies recently hired Stephanie Temple as director of athlete engagement, and Baty said the company is also looking for a chief operating officer.

Like Baty, a KU alum and former Kansas baseball player, Temple’s relationship with the university goes back decades. She, too, is a KU alumna, and her grandfather, Floyd Temple, was the longtime head coach of KU’s baseball program.

“We couldn’t think of a better person, with a bigger heart, who loves college and also fits with what we’re trying to do,” Baty said of Temple, who also worked as an Adidas representative from KU for 11 years. “She was a no-brainer for us to hire, and she’s been crucial to our mission thus far.”

According to an article in the Tulsa World, Kansas basketball coach Bill Self said at an Oklahoma Coaches Association clinic on Monday that he thought KU was “a bit behind” in the early stages. NIL’s efforts, but that he hoped the school would “catch up”. .”

“I think NIL is actually good if it’s done the right way,” Self said. “But I don’t know what the right way is.”

Mass Strategies aims to emphatically answer this question and Baty is confident that it will happen.

“We’re in growth mode right now,” he said. “And this is an opportunity for us to really put Kansas athletes at the forefront of NIL. With our donor base and our fan base, I think we can be leaders in the space.