Local business owners launch Trojans Together Collective

Published 9:32 am Tuesday, August 22, 2023

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Some Troy business owners have come together to launch the first Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) “collective” called the Trojans Together Collective.

NIL collectives begun popping up two years ago as NIL began to take shape in college athletics – especially in the college football world – giving schools opportunities to partner with these collectives, which gives business owners and private citizens opportunities to support student-athletes with NIL options. Over the past year and a half, the majority of Sun Belt Conference schools have partnered with collectives in their area but Trojans Together is the first in support of Troy University Athletics. Jones Medical Supply owner Jason Jones is one of the collective’s co-founders.

“(Benjamin Edwards Financial Advisor) Chuck Carson and I started the conversation the first time we saw the word ‘collective,’ which seems so long ago but was probably just a year and a half ago,” Jones recalled. “I remember Oklahoma’s was the first collective that really got my attention. I called Chuck and asked what his thoughts were and we kind of bounced things back and forth and then we just sort of let it die.

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“Then, December this past year we started talking about it again and just felt like we had to have one and someone had to start it, so why not us? In January of this year that’s when we really got the ball rolling.”

Jones said that starting a collective was a necessity in modern college athletics.

“You can’t compete in Division I Athletics now without being more involve with NIL,” Jones said. “We as a business have been doing NIL since day one but Jones Medical Supply can’t be the only one supporting our student-athletes.

“We’re not going to get anywhere if that’s the case and I can ensure you we don’t have that kind of money to make it work. We had to form a collective so that other business communities and donors could get involved. Some of the conversations I’ve had with other local business have said that they’ve seen what we’re doing with social media and wondered how they could do it and wanted to do something with it. That’s why the collective is here.”

Carson and Jones formed a board alongside Lawrence Hardware owner JB Roberts in forming the collective. Carson serves as president, while Jones serves a treasure and Roberts serves as secretary.

“One of my favorite things about the history and legacy of leadership at Troy University is the vision to dream big,” Carson said in a press release. “Trojans Together Collective was founded in that same sprit and everyone involved is here to make sure we continue to dream big and execute well. We are very grateful for the support of the Troy University leadership, including Chancellor (Jack) Hawkins and Director of Athletics Brent Jones.

“As the official collective of Troy Athletics, we view this relationship as a partnership. We’ve had a tremendous start through our silent phase since January and public launch on (Aug. 19), and we believe great things are ahead for Trojans Together Collective and those it was founded to serve.”

The Trojans Together Collective will offer two different forms of support with the CardiNIL Corporate side for businesses and the Red Wave Fund for individuals to also provide charitable contributions.

The CardiNIL Corporate option gives local businesses the chance to donate to the collective and in return have Troy student-athletes promote their business through NIL. Additionally, the Red Wave Fund will give individuals the chance to donate money and in return, Troy student-athletes will go out and promote local charities instead of a businesses.

While Trojans Together Collective has entered the collective game later than many of the other Sun Belt programs, that actually gave the group the chance to see how others have started and worked with their collectives and build on that. In fact, Trojans Together had a big splash when the announcement was made on social media via a video from Pro Football Hall of Famer – and Troy alum – DeMarcus Ware.

“In our opinion, Georgia Southern is sort of winning the conference collective battle right now but that kind of helped us come up with our plan on how to roll ours out,” Jones said. “They put out some big names out there for their announcement, so we went even bigger. They didn’t have a Hall of Famer to make their announcement.

“One of the benefits we’ve had from being one of the last in the conference to do it is that we’ve seen how others did it with low dollar amounts – 10 or 20 dollars a month – which is good to get more people involved, but we’re a completely volunteer group. There isn’t a single person that is a part of this collective that is taking a dime from it. So, we can’t insure people are getting the correct tax paperwork or getting their businesses promoted like they expect if we just get a few dollars a month. That’s why we have a different minimum dollar threshold.”

The Trojans Together Collective has multiple donation options ranging from silver ($5,000), black ($10,000), CardiNIL ($25,000) and Elite ($50,000+). Each one of these levels offers benefits other than just promoting businesses and charities, as well, ranging from behind the scenes tours of Troy Athletics teams, tickets and more. For more information, visit trojanstogethercollective.com.