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Michigan State launches “EverGreen” program to support student-athletes in NIL era

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Syndication: Lansing Nick King/Lansing State Journal via Imagn Content Services, LLC

With Name, Image, Likeness (NIL) rules expected to be adopted in some capacity by the NCAA prior to July 1 — the date that at least six states (not including Michigan quite yet) will have NIL laws going into effect, and well before a federal NIL bill passes either chamber of Congress — Michigan State Athletics is ahead of the curve, and has launched its “EverGreen” program to assist Spartan student-athletes during the NIL era.

The EverGreen program is designed to help Michigan State student-athletes market their name, image and likeness, help with their brand, make informed decisions and maximize their earning potential. According to the press release from MSU Athletics, the program focuses on four “pillars” — brand, empower, educate and innovate.

“Our goal is to provide our student-athletes the tools for success — on the field of competition, inside the classroom and beyond MSU,” Bill Beekman, Michigan State vice president and director of athletics said. “Name, image and likeness legislation will offer new opportunities for our student-athletes and EverGreen will prepare and position them for these changes. As we looked at designing our NIL program, we recognized that not only did we have a responsibility to help student-athletes build their brand, but it was also imperative that we provide the education and training so they can capitalize on these opportunities while also navigating this new landscape.

From the time our programs first recruit a student-athlete, we talk about being a Spartan for Life. Our EverGreen program reinforces that lifelong concept, while also providing tools and education that will equip our student-athletes to thrive long after they leave Michigan State.”

Darien Harris, Michigan State’s director of player engagement, helped lead the committee to come up with a solution for NIL programming.

EverGreen will assist MSU student-athletes with social media strategy and provide social images/graphics, as well as market evaluations of the players’ individual social media accounts, and more.

In putting together the EverGreen program, Michigan State Athletics partnered with industry leaders in the areas of student-athlete branding, student-athlete development and financial education: INFLCR, Anomaly Sports Group and TeamAltemus.

The INFLCR Verified program allows the Michigan State compliance office the ability to track all NIL deals, which will ensure compliance with applicable NCAA rules and state law — Michigan’s NIL law is scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 31, 2022. There could be federal legislation passed before that time, and there, at the very least, will be NCAA rules and guidelines to follow.

“It’s been fun for our team to watch Michigan State’s student-athletes display record usage on the INFLCR platform over the past couple of years in working together,” INFLCR CEO Jim Cavale said. “As we build on that foundation with new NIL features that will set the Spartans up for maximum success in the NIL era, it’s going to be a lot of fun doing it with one of the staple brands in all of college athletics. Once a Spartan, always a Spartan. This community will come together, not just with current student-athletes, but also with alums, and a lot of opportunities will gravitate towards Michigan State student-athletes to be able to monetize their NIL and do it safely. We couldn’t be more excited to launch this partnership together with Michigan State.”

Anomaly is “recognized as an industry leader in the field of student-athlete development and education.” Anomaly has created an education plan designed specifically for Michigan State student-athletes, which will prepare them for the NIL rules put in place, as well as “concepts surrounding decision making, due diligence, personal and business financial management and contracts.”

Luke Fedlam, the president and founder of Anomaly, had this to say about the partnership.

“Michigan State’s EverGreen program is a testament to the school’s commitment to providing their student-athletes with the tools necessary to effectively navigate the NIL landscape,” Fedlam said. “In collaboration with TeamAltemus, we are excited to bring our protective education curriculum to the student-athletes, coaches and staff of Michigan State. We are all aligned with preparing their student-athletes with real-world, practical knowledge and tools needed to help protect them through education on business-level decision-making, due diligence, financial management and contract analysis.”

Michigan State head football coach Mel Tucker is excited to launch the Evergreen program. Having this infrastructure in place is likely going to be a strong selling point for recruits, and will also immediately benefit the current players on the roster.

“I’m extremely excited about all of the different opportunities that the EverGreen program will offer for our entire team,” Tucker said. “Our players will have access to educational resources and services from industry leaders INFLCR, Anomaly and TeamAltemus that will help them develop financial and branding skills that will assist them not only here on campus, but for their entire lives after they leave MSU. EverGreen will provide our student-athletes the tools to build a network of impactful partnerships and also maximize their branding potential. This innovative program will be a major asset to our players during their time here at Michigan State.”