‘The Runners Rising Project’ wants to use NIL to keep local athletes in San Antonio for college


“NIL is extremely active and San Antonio tends to see these exceptional athletes leave town,” said UTSA manager and alumnus Eddie Benningfield.

SAN ANTONIO — Since taking effect in college athletics in July 2021, the NIL (“name-image-likeness” for short) has offered student-athletes the opportunity to leverage their talents through sponsorships or financial compensation, often backed by wealthy financial boosters from universities.

The fancy way of saying athletes can now get paid to play. Since the establishment of any final regulations remains fluid, everything remains “fair game” when it comes to landing the best recruits in the country.

It’s also a simpler way of saying that smaller schools will see their local talent poached when it comes to decision time outside of high school.

“The NIL is the atomic bomb.”

A feeling simple enough to Eddie Benningfieldgeneral manager ofThe Runners Rising Project” and an alumnus of UTSA.

“NIL is extremely active and San Antonio tends to see these outstanding athletes leave town.”

Enter the initiative of the association.

“The Runners Rising Project” is an organization founded in February with aspirations of becoming a primary fundraising effort as UTSA’s go-to NIL source.

“We like to think of ourselves as a consultation. Talk to these local businesses in town, tell them about the benefits of NIL and try to get their input.

For example, a group of hungry offensive linemen needing thousands of calories a day can be well fed Bill Miller Bar-BQ. A hypothesis that he, along with several other UTSA graduates who currently run the program, believe is feasible.

“UTSA is growing and the opportunities are there.”

Already having the approval of the “superiors” of the school, the organization is modest and thinks simple to help the pupils to live more concretely in the immediate future.

“Our goal is to get to a point where we can give an athlete $1,000 a month. We’re not there yet.

This is not something crazy. Some of these children have no outside life and cannot work. They still have expenses. Something small to help them along the way.

Once they get past the infancy stage, the final reward will make the effort worthwhile.

“We want to try to get as many people on board as possible. It doesn’t have to come out of our pockets. It doesn’t have to come from us.

If “The Runners Rising Projects” can bring 10 companies and get “x” many deals signed with “x, y, and z” athletes, we’ve told them about the benefits of NIL and told them “we’ve paved this way” . This is when we will say “we succeeded”.

Expect to see Benningfield and “The Runners Rising Project” at UTSA tailgates throughout the season. To find out more, see runnersrisingproject.org and follow them on Twitter at @runners_rising.



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