Rising Spear launches to help shape athletes’ brand, non-profit work

Rising Spear, an independent platform to develop Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) opportunities for Florida State University student-athletes, was announced Tuesday and offers interesting opportunities for student-athletes to be compensated by local and national businesses as well as by individual fans for community outreach efforts.  

The Rising Star platform will create and develop NIL opportunities for FSU student-athletes with two creative options: 

  • Gold Standard is the traditional for-profit representation with local and national businesses; 
  • Garnet Spirit is a creative not-for-profit platform, which compensates FSU student-athletes through appearance fees to help meet the needs of local communities through clinics, fundraising, community service projects and events supporting underserved communities.

When readers think about NIL they tend to think about corporate endorsements, covered by the Gold Standard, which is likely to benefit higher-profile players most. But what about the rest of the student-athletes? How do you enable any student-athlete to build their brand and earn compensation? The Garnet Spirit option provides compensation to any student-athletes who wish to engage by giving back to their local community. 

While the Gold Standard will be funded by businesses, the Garnet Spirit option can be funded by individual fans interested in compensating student-athletes for using their brand influence in the community. 

“We identified the need for an organization and infrastructure to support student-athletes representing every sport at FSU,” said co-founder Bob Davis. “It was important to focus our efforts purely on student-athletes and the communities they serve.”

Under NIL guidelines, FSU student-athletes can pursue multiple forms of NIL opportunities, including:

Traditional Endorsements and Social Media Deals (e.g., compensating a student-athlete to endorse a product in any medium)

In-Kind Deals (e.g., providing products such as shoes, apparel or vouchers in exchange for promotional activities or services)

Appearances, Autographs and Camps/Clinics (e.g., compensating a student-athlete in exchange for his/her time and services)

The University of Florida recently announced a platform for NIL called The Gator Collective, which focuses its current efforts on 10 football players, offering members the opportunities to purchases branded merchandise – some with the player’s name on it – raffles and exclusive interviews with the player through the platform. Suggested contributions range from $5.99 per month to $999 per month, with a phone number for those who wish to contribute more. The site reports over 800 current members.

NIL Platforms In Florida are Third Party Enterprises

Like the Gator Collective, Rising Spear is a third-party entity founded by Davis and Alan Flaumenhaft. Davis was the former Chairman of Seminole Boosters, Inc. and Flaumenhaft was the Treasurer. While athletic and booster staff in other states can assist student-athletes in securing NIL compensation, under Florida law no member of the athletic staff or booster organization is permitted to assist in securing NIL agreements. Thus, the two former Booster volunteers were required to resign their positions on the board to create the organization.

Neither Davis nor Flaumenhaft will be compensated for their roles in the development of the platform.

Rising Spear and the student-athletes will also be served by an “Athletes Advisory Council” of prominent former FSU student-athletes including Derrick Brooks, Charlie Ward, Kez McCorvey, Casey Weldon (football), Nicki Ekhomu (women’s basketball), Meghan King (softball) and Jaelin Howell (soccer).

“I’m excited and honored to be involved with Rising Spear,” said Brooks. “This is going to be a meaningful effort to support all FSU student-athletes to help them navigate the full potential of NIL and maximize their personal brand value.”

According to Davis, Rising Spear has received substantial NIL opportunities, and contracts and is in negotiation with major corporations and local businesses. The organization has also received commitments for Garnet Spirit contributions to support not-for-profit efforts involving FSU student-athletes.

“I spent the majority of my career creating companies that provide community-based support for the underserved populations,” said Flaumenhaft. “We saw the same opportunity to connect student-athletes with the local community. This structure will provide the student-athletes a lifelong appreciation of giving back.”

The long-term objective of Rising Spear is to empower Florida State student-athletes with the resources and roadmap to learn how to maximize their brand value. For more information on Rising Spear, visit www.risingspear.com, or call Bob Davis at 407-234-0974.