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#PMARSHONAU: 'On To Victory' collective


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#PMARSHONAU: 'On To Victory' collective aims to make a difference for Auburn

Phillip Marshall
7-9 minutes

 

Late Kick Blitz: Making the case for Auburn to go over their win total

 

Walt Woltosz is an internationally renowned scientist and engineer with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and am honorary doctorate from Auburn. Though he is technically retired, he is the founder and Chairman of the Board of Simulations Plus, an immensely successful firm that produces simulation and modeling software for pharmaceutical research.

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Woltosz, a member of the Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame, serves on the Auburn University Foundation Board of Directors. His professional accomplishments are legendary. And he loves Auburn athletics. He and his wife, Ginger, gave $10 million to help in building Auburn’s new football facility. When he was approached about joining other major donors in an Auburn NIL collective, he embraced the idea. He was on the founding Board of Directors. He and his wife donated $1 million to the cause.

Later today, the On To Victory NIL Collective is scheduled to be officially launched.

Woltosz wasn’t so sure about the move last summer to allow athletes to profit off their names, images and likenesses. But he is convinced now.

“At first I didn’t like it,” Woltosz said. “Then I got to thinking about how hard these kids work to make it to a D-1 school and be able to play at this level. A lot of them come from families that don’t have a lot of money. A lot of them aren’t going to make it to the pros. This is their one chance to capitalize on their hard work. This is a way for them to not only put some money in their own pockets but help their families.”

Woltosz had breakfast with Auburn coach Bruce Pearl on Wednesday morning. And Pearl, who has taken Auburn basketball to unprecedented heights, made clear the reality of the new normal in college athletics.

“He said NIL has to be our top priority,” Woltosz said. “If not, we’re not going to be competitive. People want to give to winners. People are encouraged when things are going well. Things are going well. Football has its issues right now, but look at other sports. … We are doing really, really well. If we want to continue to do that, we have to provide support.”

Woltosz said he sees positive development in Auburn football, too, harkening back to Auburn’s near miss against Alabama in the Iron Bowl. Winning, he acknowledged, would help the NIL picture. But, as he pointed out, NIL is needed to win.

That’s why Woltosz and other significant donors were ready to listen when Wesley Spruill called.

Spruill, a Tuscaloosa physician and a coastal property developer, started the move that will culminate with today’s announcement. He put together a six-man Board of Directors made up of loyal Auburn people who have shared their treasure with the university they all love.

“We are basically just voices for a lot of value donors who know we have to make it happen,” Spruill said. “A lot of people wish this wasn’t happening. The reality is we have to have it to be successful. Done right, we can change kids’ lives. These kids love being at Auburn. We want to change kids’ lives, make Auburn competitive. We’re not trying to outspend everybody. We want to have a solid NIL program and do it the right way.”

The new collective has a web site – www.ontovictory.com – up and running. It will seek donations large and small. It will work with businesses to provide opportunities for Auburn athletes. It has a group concentrating on football, another on basketball and another on baseball.

The collective purchased the assets of NIL-Auburn, a collective started by Auburn lawyer and former baseball catcher Rick Davidson. Woltosz said it was extremely fortunate that Davidson jumped into it early. All contracts signed by NIL-Auburn will be honored.

“Thank goodness he did it when he did,” Woltosz said. “If he hadn’t, we wouldn’t have had much of anything going on. The bigger donors need to step up and do something. But we can’t expect these people to do this year after year. Everybody is enjoying the sports, so everybody needs to pitch in with whatever they are comfortable with.”

11213871.jpg?fit=bounds&crop=620:320,offset-y0.50&width=620&height=320 Walt and Ginger Woltosz (Photo: Auburn University)

Board members of the On To Victory Collective, Spruill said, are not seeking money for themselves and will not take any portion of donations for themselves.

“We got a group together to find out what we need to do to do what is best for Auburn,” Spruill said. “We will prove every year that nobody in our organization will ever make a penny.”

The leadership group includes Spruill, Nick Davis, Keith Jones, Ned Sheffield, Mike Garrison, Steve Fleming and Mike Arasin. They are successful professionals who have set out to make sure Auburn athletics is not left behind and that Auburn athletes benefit.

It’s been an educational process for all involved. Collectives are not allowed to offer pay for play. It is against the rules for the collectives to contact prospects at all before they are enrolled. Once they are enrolled, there are no limits on what they can receive. Coaches also are not allowed to make NIL offers to players.

Some, of course, get around the rules by breaking the rules. But here is how executive athletics director Rich McGlynn explained it:

“If they are asking a coach ‘What can I get?’ the coach is going to say ‘I can’t promise you anything and can’t be involved. I can show you our recruiting presentation that shows you what the kids on our team are making, and you have every reason to believe you can make the same kind of money if not more. We expect NIL to grow. If you help us win championships, Auburn people take care of Auburn kids. Our coaches have to be really careful about what they are saying.”

Spruill said Auburn’s collective will strongly adhere to the latest NCAA guidance and do it “the right way.”

“We can’t communicate with anybody until they are on campus,” Spruill said. “None of that is legal. We can’t as a collective do that, and we’re not going to do it.”

Athletes who sign with the On To Victory Collective will also be allowed to make their own deals with businesses outside of the collective.

“If Auburn does not have a collective, nobody is going to consider coming here,” Spruill said. “It’s legal. It’s not dirty. We can help change kids’ lives. We are going to teach them about managing money, about taxes. If we don’t have a successful NIL, players aren’t going to come here, and we’ll never hire a coach again.”

The hope, Woltosz said, is that enough Auburn people will step forward and make donations so that the burden does not fall only on a few. Even $50 a month, he said, could make a significant difference.

14COMMENTS

“If we could get a few 10s of thousands of the 300,000 alumni we have that are still alive to do that, we’d be in pretty good shape to be competitive,” Woltosz said.

Welcome to the new world of college athletics.

">247Sports
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Taken by itself, I like the sound of this one.  I hope we don't end up with competing Collectives. Perhaps they will all consolidate?

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29 minutes ago, Mikey said:

Taken by itself, I like the sound of this one.  I hope we don't end up with competing Collectives. Perhaps they will all consolidate?

i have no idea. mr marshall said he would slide me five bucks if i posted it.........grins

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1 hour ago, Mikey said:

Taken by itself, I like the sound of this one.  I hope we don't end up with competing Collectives. Perhaps they will all consolidate?

The article says they bought out the other existing collective. Is there a 3rd one out there?

Walt and his wife are great people - had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with them some years ago - but this really drives home the point that AU is facing an uphill climb. As Walt says, we need a few tens of thousands of alums to donate meaningful amounts, call it 10% of our base. There are schools out there, including my other alma mater, Texas, who can match those numbers from a single donor with ease. 

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8 minutes ago, TigerHorn said:

The article says they bought out the other existing collective. Is there a 3rd one out there?

Walt and his wife are great people - had the pleasure of spending an afternoon with them some years ago - but this really drives home the point that AU is facing an uphill climb. As Walt says, we need a few tens of thousands of alums to donate meaningful amounts, call it 10% of our base. There are schools out there, including my other alma mater, Texas, who can match those numbers from a single donor with ease. 

I think this NIL thing is totally out if control. This is not what was intended. Asking fans to donate LOL... I'm all for players profiting of their name,  image likeness.  But it's gotta be regulated. How bout setting aside some of that TV money in a pot and giving players a certain % .. All we got now is "Boosters gone Wild".

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22 minutes ago, NWALA Tiger said:

I think this NIL thing is totally out if control. This is not what was intended. Asking fans to donate LOL... I'm all for players profiting of their name,  image likeness.  But it's gotta be regulated. How bout setting aside some of that TV money in a pot and giving players a certain % .. All we got now is "Boosters gone Wild".

Waiting on the pics.

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28 minutes ago, NWALA Tiger said:

I think this NIL thing is totally out if control. This is not what was intended. Asking fans to donate LOL... I'm all for players profiting of their name,  image likeness.  But it's gotta be regulated. How bout setting aside some of that TV money in a pot and giving players a certain % .. All we got now is "Boosters gone Wild".

I was unaware it was up to the school to source opportunities for the athletes, I thought it was hey if I want to do a commercial for Ford as an Auburn player I can do it and get paid without NCAA eligibility issues, or if you decide to sell jerseys with my number (which mirror my likeness) I can get a cut of the jersey sales without getting suspended. Guess I was a bit confused.

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15 minutes ago, PoetTiger said:

I was unaware it was up to the school to source opportunities for the athletes, I thought it was hey if I want to do a commercial for Ford as an Auburn player I can do it and get paid without NCAA eligibility issues, or if you decide to sell jerseys with my number (which mirror my likeness) I can get a cut of the jersey sales without getting suspended. Guess I was a bit confused.

That was the intent, but when you open up the rulebook as the NCAA was forced to do, it quickly becomes the wild west. 

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I have said from the beginning that NIL is a bad idea and will become what it is becoming, and that is pay for play where the haves will smash the have nots. Mr. Woltosz does make one good point. Most of these kids will never make it to the pros, this will be the only chance for most of them to make some (10s of thousands maybe) money playing football.

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17 minutes ago, PoetTiger said:

I was unaware it was up to the school to source opportunities for the athletes, I thought it was hey if I want to do a commercial for Ford as an Auburn player I can do it and get paid without NCAA eligibility issues, or if you decide to sell jerseys with my number (which mirror my likeness) I can get a cut of the jersey sales without getting suspended. Guess I was a bit confused.

That's just it. No regulation.  It's the wild wild west. I think your spot on of how it was SUPPOSED to work

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4 hours ago, Mikey said:

Taken by itself, I like the sound of this one.  I hope we don't end up with competing Collectives. Perhaps they will all consolidate?

Our football players were scheduled to launch The Plains NIL Club last Friday.  Did they merge with On to Victory NIL and if not, can a football player receive funds from both NIL collectives at the same time? 

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It is terrible for those who are behind the eight ball and not so terrible for those, who knowingly had a plan (albeit unethical as it may be) ready to go. I have no clue, especially with our checkered past, why we are five steps behind. Actually, I do, but what is the point (Auburn fans want it both ways).

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The problem I see is that some of these NIL groups are being helmed by people looking to take advantage of the athletes and fans by taking a significant cut. There's no transparency and people don't know where their money is going to.

That's what gives me hope with this one. This seems like a group that isn't in it for personal profit and/or doesn't need/want that and is pledging transparency with where money goes. 

I'm all for NIL, but I do think it's getting outta hand. It's like the NFL without salary cap. And look, I want the players to get theirs, because like the gentleman said many will not play in the pros. But someone said it best on On3, the average Joe and his wife are gonna have to give up their monthly date night money to help contribute meaningfully so that schools can keep up. That's not where NIL was supposed to go imo, and I'd bet a lot of players don't want the average fan to have to do that either if they were asked about it.

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47 minutes ago, au302 said:

The problem I see is that some of these NIL groups are being helmed by people looking to take advantage of the athletes and fans by taking a significant cut. There's no transparency and people don't know where their money is going to.

That's what gives me hope with this one. This seems like a group that isn't in it for personal profit and/or doesn't need/want that and is pledging transparency with where money goes. 

I'm all for NIL, but I do think it's getting outta hand. It's like the NFL without salary cap. And look, I want the players to get theirs, because like the gentleman said many will not play in the pros. But someone said it best on On3, the average Joe and his wife are gonna have to give up their monthly date night money to help contribute meaningfully so that schools can keep up. That's not where NIL was supposed to go imo, and I'd bet a lot of players don't want the average fan to have to do that either if they were asked about it.

I would bet, the players that really needs these resources, aren’t worried about whose pockets it comes from. I also bet the a erage fan that cant afford it won’t pony up.

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10 hours ago, aubiefifty said:

Spruill said Auburn’s collective will strongly adhere to the latest NCAA guidance and do it “the right way.”

“We can’t communicate with anybody until they are on campus,” Spruill said. “None of that is legal. We can’t as a collective do that, and we’re not going to do it.”

Why do we always tie our hands behind our own back

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1 hour ago, Hank2020 said:

I would bet, the players that really needs these resources, aren’t worried about whose pockets it comes from. I also bet the a erage fan that cant afford it won’t pony up.

People are fanatics and will do whatever. It's not my business. As long as they're not hurting others they can do what they want with their money. Just didn't forsee all this delving into cries for average fans to save the day. Maybe that's just us though since some of our big boys apparently don't want to get involved 

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NIL can definitely be a good thing but, like everything else, it needs some guard rails around it to keep all involved in check. 

I haven't read every reply to this post but did anybody see the new video of a recruit visiting at Texas A&M? He is in the endzone of their stadium and an assistant coach for A&M says "Look up at all those suites and just think, the people in those suites can make you alot of money." I'm paraphrasing but that's nearly word for word what the coach said. Someone recorded it with their phone so it may have been a family member of the recruit. I'm not sure how to post videos to this comment section but Google the video and it will come up. 

It just shows that Jimbo wasn't completely truthful when he responded to Saban and other coaches. It wasn't and isn't illegal to recruit that way using NIL, it's just showing that Jimbo did in fact buy that #1 class just like many other coaches said he did.

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why isn’t softball part of this?????

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On 7/28/2022 at 7:54 PM, W.E.D said:

Why do we always tie our hands behind our own back

Ask Tennessee

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1 hour ago, Hank2020 said:

Ask Tennessee

Yeah, there is a difference between acting like every other collective and being recruits in on the DL during covid and having your wife in on it.

Gmafb

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On 7/28/2022 at 9:35 AM, Mikey said:

 I hope we don't end up with competing Collectives. 

*thinks about the Borg*

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NIL is so funny. All of these schools and alumni creating LLC’s and foundations lol bro just drop the bag of cash off at their house like you did 5 years ago

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I saw where the TCU collective is providing $25k a year to all the players.  They are then free to sign other NIL deals based on their value to whatever company is doing the deal.  So $25k is the floor for every player on the team.  I assume that is what OnToVictory is doing but the floor amount is to be determined based on the contributions it receives.  The managers of the collective are donating their services and playing within the rules.  Seems like a great idea to me based on what is happening around the county now.  If this is the new world then I commend those who are involved and I intend to contribute.  

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4 minutes ago, weagl1 said:

I saw where the TCU collective is providing $25k a year to all the players.  They are then free to sign other NIL deals based on their value to whatever company is doing the deal.  So $25k is the floor for every player on the team.  I assume that is what OnToVictory is doing but the floor amount is to be determined based on the contributions it receives.  The managers of the collective are donating their services and playing within the rules.  Seems like a great idea to me based on what is happening around the county now.  If this is the new world then I commend those who are involved and I intend to contribute.  

I'm not going to contribute to this type of thing because I don't know where this entire setup is going. When this first started I said I'd give it four to five years to play out and then if it turns out to be the suspected "rich get richer" thing I'll find some other source of amusement.

I would contribute to a baseball/softball collective because those athletes on partial scholarships need the money just to get to where the full scholarship people are financially.

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