Gophers Football Receiving ‘Substantive NIL Packages’ Recently; Basketball Still Behind

Both Featured Photos via Matt Krohn - USA Today Sports

The Minnesota Gophers football team appears to be building up some Name, Image and Likeness momentum this season, as more U of M sports fans with deep pocket books continue to wrap their brains around how things work in the NIL age of college athletics.

And recently, the good NIL vibes surrounding Gophers football have gotten even better, after ‘some Gophers boosters came forward with some substantive NIL packages’ for PJ Fleck and his Row the Boat program.

Related: Top In-State 2024 Recruit Koi Perich Officially Signs with Gophers

Gophers football receives ‘substantive NIL packages’; Basketball still struggling

Unfortunately, according to Charley Walters (Pioneer Press), Ben Johnson and the men’s basketball team have not been so fortunate. Walters reports that six Big Ten basketball programs have raised over $1 million for NIL funding this season and his Gophers are not one of them.

Some Gophers boosters the other day came forward with some substantive name, image and likeness packages for football. Meanwhile, six Big Ten men’s basketball teams this season have raised at least $1 million for NIL deals. The Gophers are not among them.

Charley Walters – Pioneer Press

PJ Fleck, Dinkytown Athletes changing everything for U of M sports

Let’s start with Gopher football. Honestly, I did not think PJ Fleck could make the kind of progress on the NIL front that he has in just one year’s time. He has dove head first into growing and normalizing donations from boosters and fans, in the name of NIL and it’s made the difference.

Related: PJ Fleck Pleads Gophers Fans and Boosters for More NIL Money

By endorsing and vocally pushing supporters to the University of Minnesota’s official NIL collective, Dinkytown Athletes, PJ has completely changed the landscape and future of this football program. The leaps and bounds they have made in a very short amount of time may have saved the program from falling too far behind the rest of the conference to ever recover.

Ben Johnson, Gophers basketball still behind in NIL race

minnesota gophers football gophers basketball pj fleck ben johnson nil name image likeness
Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota basketball started an initiative to bring in more NIL money last year, but it did not forecast $1 million in its first year. So, the above news does not mean their drive has been unsuccessful. It does, however, confirm that Ben Johnson’s is behind the NIL 8-ball, compared to other Big Ten teams.

Still, that hasn’t stopped them from getting off to a hot 9-3 start this season. With Big Ten play returning at the start of the new year, we’ll see if he can turn some early momentum into an NCAA Tournament appearance. If successful, the NIL money will follow.

Related: Ben Johnson’s 2023-24 Gophers Defying Odds, Climbing Rankings

There is a very large Minnesota Gophers basketball fan base out there. Much like the Timberwolves, if wins start coming, so will the support. And with support, will come Name, Image and Likeness cashflow.

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