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Latest NIL twist: Millions being pledged to college athletes

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Posted at 5:14 PM, Dec 14, 2021

Six months after one of the biggest rule changes in the history of college sports, money for athletes is being pledged by the millions in a development that has raised concerns about the role of wealthy alumni eager to back their beloved alma maters.

At Texas, one group is dangling $50,000 a year for individual offensive linemen while another says it already has $10 million promised for Longhorns athletes. At Oregon, billionaire Nike founder Phil Knight is part of group helping Ducks athletes line up deals — just one of many interested parties with deep pockets jumping in alongside the apparel companies, energy drink companies, car dealerships and restaurants already signing athletes to endorsement deals.

College football’s first national signing day arrives this week in this new money era. With few rules governing how it all works, the push to dangle cash in front of players already in uniform and lure future stars to campus has created a new, rapidly expanding frontier in college sports with so-called “collectives” and even nonprofits popping up to play ball.