Every Single Scholarship Gophers Football Player Has an NIL Deal, PJ Fleck Reveals

pj fleck Minnesota gophers
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Gophers have stepped up their NIL game in recent years and months. Pretty much since the middle of the season when head coach PJ Fleck pleaded with the fanbase on his weekly in-season radio show to donate more money or the University of Minnesota was going to become nothing more than a minor league team for bigger schools with more money to offer players.

On Wednesday at his spring press conference, Fleck had a much different tune when asked about the current state of the Gophers’ Name, Image and Likeness program, along with their official NIL collective, Dinkytown Athletes.

PJ Fleck singing a different tune surrounding NIL situation

Instead of doom and gloom, PJ boasted about bringing back 15 of 16 possible starters between offense and defense (the only starter they lost was former QB Athan Kaliakmanis). Thanked all of the people who have poured in money, time and effort to grow their NIL situation into a place that appears competitive with most other power 5 schools and much better off than some.

“I think it’s 15 of the 16 starters are back and we lost one starter. But other than that, 15 of them decided to stay. I’m sure they could all make more money, I don’t think that’s a secret. But I am really really thankful and proud of Dinkytown Athletes, our fans, our administration… of really investing into our players.

Is they’re always going to be a bigger house? Yes. Is there always gonna be someone who makes more money? Yes. Is there always gonna be a faster car? Yes. There’s always going to be that, absolutely. But I think what we do, and how we do it it, fits our culture and what we do within our program of connecting a football team.”

PJ Fleck

Related: Gophers’ Safety Tyler Nubin Officially Met with at Least 5 Teams at NFL Scouting Combine

Fleck made it clear that his program has not changed its philosophy on how he builds a roster, or the type of humans he wants to bring in. But money matters in life. For a coach who makes $6 million per year, it would be a slap in the face to his players if he believed otherwise.

Every Minnesota Gophers football player has an NIL Deal

What the influx in NIL cash has allowed them to do is level the playing field with other competitive power five schools across the country. In fact, PJ revealed something else that certainly caught my attention. He told reporters that every single scholarship player on the football team is making something in NIL money.

“Every single scholarship athlete, I can say that, makes NIL money. And I’m a firm believer in connecting the entire football team. Now, like anything, as you continue to go through, you know, [some] people will have abilities to make more, I’m sure. But it’s one of those things that we take a lot of pride in, in connecting our team.”

PJ Fleck

PJ did not expand on whether or not it’s one team-wide Name, Image and Likeness contract that allows all of the players to make money together or if Dinkytown Athletes was able to help every player individually line up some sort of NIL contract, even without a full-team deal.

Hell, it could be as easy as the entire roster signing off on their name and likeness being used in the upcoming EA College Football video game, which is expected to finally launch for next season. EA had to reach out to each team to get a list of all the players who wanted to take $600 in order to have their Name, Image and Likeness used in the game.

Related: PJ Fleck and Coaching Staff Receive Raises from University of Minnesota

Honestly, I don’t care how they get the money, as long as they have enough to keep the best players every year in Dinkytown. Sometime not that far away, the schools will play players, like what should have happened a long time ago. Until then, it’s up to Gopher football fans to keep the football dream alive.

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