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Gonzaga launches “Friends of Spike” NIL program for student athletes

"Friends of Spike" will provide Gonzaga University male and female student-athletes with revenue-earning opportunities.

SPOKANE, Wash. — This Tuesday, Gonzaga University announced “Friends of Spike," a comprehensive program designed to assist student-athletes as they navigate the new world of profiting off their name, images and likeness (NIL).

The Division 1 Board of Directors approved the interim name, image and likeness policy on June 30, 2021. The policy allows all NCAA D1, D2 and D3 student-athletes to be compensated for their NIL as of July 1, 2021.

According to a press release from Gonzaga, "Friends of Spike" will provide a long-term and organized NIL program for GU male and female student-athletes.

Student-athletes and supporters of the program will be able to engage directly with athletes for corporate advertising campaigns, youth sports coaching sessions, brand representation, merchandising programs, speaking appearances and other events.

"Friends of Spike" supporters include former GU men's basketball player Matt Santangelo and former GU women's basketball player Shaniqua Nilles, who also owned Blueprint Sports (BPS), which will be leading "Friends of Spike."

"As former student-athletes here in Spokane, we know firsthand how much of an impact we can have on the community and the world,” Santangelo and Nilles said. “Whether a student-athlete goes pro or not isn't the point of participating in collegiate sports."

Santangelo and Nilles said this program will allow current and future student-athletes at Gonzaga to have the largest stage in history to share their favorite brands with fans and invest in their own future.

"We're excited to watch the Zags community grow across the nation and worldwide as these student-athletes continue to excel,” Santangelo and Nilles said.

Other supporters of the initiative include Gee Automotive, Washington Trust Bank, The Wolff Company and Dealers Auto Auction.

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