NIL group working to offer competitive deals, make UT ‘NIL’ destination

Spyre Sports helped 140 University of Tennessee student athletes receive millions of dollars in NIL deals.
Published: Jul. 22, 2022 at 6:10 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 22, 2022 at 6:11 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Spyre Sports has worked to take advantage of the inaugural year of Name, Image and Likeness deals for college athletes.

Their co-founder, Hunter Baddour, said this is crucial to do because they don’t want to fall behind other universities and states.

“I think it’s been amazing how fast we’ve got to this point, meaning that NIL plays a major part in where the top players are going to want to go and the way we can help is by taking care of the current student athletes,” Baddour said.

The most recent NIL trip the group took was to New York City to show Hendon Hooker and Cedric Tillman more business opportunities as they plan for their future. Baddour said it was also necessary to do this to give them the exposure they deserve.

“We were able to take have them visit with some different business leaders that are going to want to work with them in the NFL and next level,” Baddour said.

Fan contributions will equally support more than 100 members of the team that are participating in the club.

The current state of NIL has been a topic of conversation with several coaches and football programs across the country. Vol Football coach Josh Heupel said he’s all for NIL and promoting the UT brand. In terms of how NIL will change for college athletes in the future, Baddour said Spyre will adapt to anything.

“I think you’re going to see more positives than negatives. There’s going to be a lot of players who maybe choose to stay an extra year before going into the NFL or NBA to come back and spend an extra year in the weight room and work on their skills and so forth,” Baddour said.

Universities offering NIL deals not only help current athletes but also ones looking for their next school. Baddour said they may not go on the playing field, but helping UT athletes with NIL deals is a small piece that can help bring better talent to Tennessee.

“We love Knoxville, we love the university and it’s fun and exciting for us that we can play a small part in hopefully Tennessee’s successes,” Baddour said.

In the inaugural year of NIL for college athletes, Spyre helped provide $4 million to 140 athletes across 10 different sports.

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