When asked last January if he would be part of a “collective” to help Iowa State retain student-athletes in this new era of name, image and of the resemblance, former football manager Dan McCarney unsurprisingly responded:
“I didn’t just happily say yes,” one of the most popular coaches in Iowa State track and field history recalled Saturday. “I said, ‘Hell yeah. “”
It’s Mac. Although he lives in Florida, he is still deeply rooted in the wonderful soil of the state of Iowa. Whether it’s at Iowa State, where he coached for 12 seasons, or at his alma mater in Iowa, damn it, he’ll do anything in his power to help.
So when Ryan Harklau, an Iowa State football star from 1996-2000 and now regional vice president of Farm Bureau Financial Services, called to ask if his former coach would be on board to help the Cyclones to be relevant in the NIL landscape, the response was as predictive as McCarney’s deep passion for college athletics and athletes.
“Any time I’m asked to do anything to help the state of Iowa or Iowa or any other organization in Iowa – and if it’s something I truly, sincerely believe in and honestly – I will do everything in my power to help,” McCarney said. . “Anything we can do to help retain our student-athletes so they don’t move from school to school or check where the highest bidder is – I totally agree. . Iowa State University is a destination. The collective is a tool to help retain student-athletes.
AFTER: Peterson: Losing Tyrese Hunter stinks for Iowa State, but it’s hard to blame him
Thus the rise of the “We Will” collective, a name derived from the “I will” part of the letter Jack Trice wrote on the eve of a 1923 game in Minnesota – a game in which serious injuries ultimately led to his death. This is an independent initiative from Iowa State University that will launch this week. The collective will pay student-athletes to help organizations with their fundraising efforts.
“Once (McCarney) learned the values of the collective, he was all-in,” Harklau said. “He loves Iowa State and wants to do whatever he can to help support student-athletes so they can finish their careers at Iowa State with a degree.
“Nothing has changed for him since the day he arrived in the state of Iowa. Once he found out it would support local charities, he gave it his all.
“We Will” is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization where Iowa State athletes can get paid, but they’ll have to do something to earn it other than average a double- double or pass for 400 yards and four touchdowns. every game.
“The money will go into the pockets of the athletes to give back through charities,” the president of the “We Will” collective, Jason Loutsch, told me last weekend. “We think it’s a creative way to maintain our values while competing in this crazy world.”
AFTER:Peterson: McCarney says ISU football is worthy of buzz growing game after game
The “We Will” collective will survive on tax-deductible donations. A board that currently includes supporters, former athletes and McCarney will handle the rest.
It works something like this:
A charity wants an Iowa State athlete to speak or otherwise participate in a fundraiser. Charity approaches the collective. The collective pays an athlete, say $10,000, to help this charity raise money.
“We want them to give back,” said Loutsch, whose business endeavors include owning CycloneFanatic. “If they’re going to get money, we want them to give it back to charity.”
This is where an athlete’s name, image and likeness comes in. The better their brand, the more in demand they are likely to be.
“We don’t know yet what that number will be,” Loutsch said. “We believe they should be compensated. We will do our best to give them the money they deserve.
No one promises that NIL opportunities will generate millions of dollars for Iowa State athletes, as is done elsewhere. That’s not what “We Will” is about.
“We cannot compete with these people who pay ridiculous sums for a year. It’s not who we are,” said Loutsch, a longtime Cyclones fan. “We want to be competitive. It’s just not us to compete like that.
RECRUITMENT MAIL: Thus, Tyrese Hunter was transferred. What’s next for Iowa State?
“We Will” was in the planning stages before Cyclones freshman basketball star Tyrese Hunter surprisingly entered the transfer portal last week. It’s conceivable that he could legally receive $500,000 for playing somewhere with deeper pockets. Kansas and Duke, among a handful of others, come to mind. Hunter failed to return multiple registry messages.
“The reality is that we were a bit behind the 8-ball, in terms of timing,” Loutsch said. “If we do nothing, our coaches will not be able to compete. As Cyclones fans, we want to win. We love going to Sweet 16s. We like to go bowling. If you don’t have an organization and if you don’t give the players what they deserve, the rules of the game will not be fair.
“We’ll take whatever (donations) we get — $10 a month, $100 a month, or whatever. Whatever income people are willing to provide for us to be competitive at this level, we will take it.
AFTER:While Dabo Swinney, Nick Saban and Kirby Smart complain about the new rules, they won’t admit it
For now, the prize pool is available for Cyclones male football and basketball players. The plan is to expand as the collective grows.
“We do this to retain our athletes, not to recruit them,” Harklau said. “This is created to retain our athletes and benefit the community, as we adapt to this changing world. Each level of donor will be important for this to work.
Collectives, independent of the universities they support, are popping up everywhere. The Business of College Sports lists at least 45 collectives at the Power Five level. Many schools have multiple collectives. Collectives for athletes from all schools in the Big 12 Conference are already underway or should be operational shortly.
“It’s a non-profit organization,” McCarney pointed out. “Instead of saying, ‘Here’s a check, now go back to your room and play some video games,’ student-athletes are going to give back to communities. When you can turn around and give back, to help charities achieve their goals, I think young people appreciate giving back. Later, as they turn gray, I think there’s an even deeper appreciation.