Gophers Hire New Employee to Seek Out Fortune 500 NIL Contributions

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Erin Bormett / Argus Leader via Imagn Content Services, LLCCredit: Erin Bormett / Argus Leader via Imagn Content Services, LLC

The Minnesota Gophers are stepping up their efforts to secure larger NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) contributions from Fortune 500 companies. This push comes as the Gophers find themselves lagging behind other schools in terms of their NIL budget.

Recently, the University of Memphis received a substantial contribution from FedEx (headquartered in Memphis). worth a landmark $25 million and there is belief that it will change the NIL landscape, possibly giving it a much more corporate feel going forward.

Minnesota Gophers want to get Fortune 500 NIL Deal for big money

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Photo: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY SportsCredit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

This is the reality of college athletics, for now, which is why Athletic Director Mark Coyle and the University of Minnesota are reportedly pursuing their own version of a ‘FedEx deal’ with one of the many Fortune 500 companies that calls this state home.

According to what the Gophers told Marcus Fuller (Star Tribune), they’ve hired someone paid by Learfield, their “official rights holder” to engage local Fortune 500 companies in hopes of landing new NIL money to pay for more talent.

The new employee’s name is Brett Schreiner and his title is “Senior Manager, Business Development-NIL”. He and Mark Coyle sat down with Fuller to discuss his new role within the U of M Athletic Department.

Schreiner was fundraising on the university’s academic side before taking on his new role as senior manager, business development-NIL. He works for Learfield, the official rights holder for the Gophers and hundreds of other collegiate programs. The Gophers were the 13th program within Learfield’s national footprint to hire someone for an NIL-specific job.

“We’re trying to kind of be on the cutting edge with this role,” Schreiner said. “We’re trying to work with a lot of companies to make NIL more important to them.”

Marcus Fuller – Star Tribune

Schreiner shared that the university is collaborating with numerous companies in their efforts to elevate their NIL budget. This endeavor is likely challenging, even considering longstanding partnerships with major local companies like 3M.

Related: Gray Duck + Dinkytown Athletes Partnership Forecasting $1M/Yr in NIL Contributions

Yes, those internationally known companies have been partnering with the Gophers for years, but that’s never been in the NIL sphere. 3M, for example, is already in business with the university.

They own naming rights to Mariucci Arena for the next decade. Still, none of that money goes toward paying student athletes. With some adjustments to their contract, though, that could potentially shift.

In 2017, 3M announced a 14-year, $11.2 million Gophers athletics naming rights sponsorship with the Mariucci hockey arena. NIL is completely different, but the Gophers have talked to 3M about giving.

“3M and the University of Minnesota have had a strong relationship for nearly 100 years and our involvement in Gopher Athletics is one piece of a larger partnership,” 3M spokesman Mike Laninga said. “The Gopher athletic department was very helpful in explaining how the NIL process works and how to properly engage if we chose to do so.”


Schreiner is looking for something bigger – he envisions local companies that are not just committed, but truly dedicated to being a partner with Gopher athletics. This move marks a positive stride for the university, IF they can get one or two of these deals done. An influx of, say, $20 million could change everything.

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