Wildcat NIL Confusion Begs the Question: Is NIL Money Worth Your Hard-Earned Dollar?

NCAA Football: Kansas State at Texas Tech

Someone on “X” posted a video over the weekend of a bunch of Lamborghinis lined up greeting recruits visiting the University of Texas.

The individual posting the video thought this was a great thing, saying, “We’ve come a long way.”

To me, it was the latest nail in the coffin for college sports.

I have always been against paying college players. With a full scholarship, they receive $100,000 (or more) of free education, free room and board, free meals, first-class travel, accommodations in five-star hotels, and a clothing stipend, among other things. Generally, they live for four or five years on someone else’s dime. But all of that was not enough for high-profile college athletes.

Now, they shop their services to the highest bidder via the NCAA transfer portal.


On top of that, some of the best high school players are getting NIL money from universities. It all seems very dirty, slimy, and shady to me. Even though I was never naive to some college players getting paid under the table in the past, there was at least an appearance of an even playing field and an organization—the NCAA—in place to police the universities not playing by the rules. All of that has gone out the window.

K-State has an organization that raises money for athletes called “Wildcat NIL.” They are working in conjunction with the K-State athletic department. The athletic department already has The Ahearn Fund, which solicits money from individuals to support the athletic department and student-athletes.

Full disclosure: I am a donor to the Ahearn Fund.

I don’t know exactly where my money goes. I guess that is why they call it a “fund.” It’s kind of like a mutual fund. A pool of money and the athletic department chooses how to spend it. I always thought the money was used for facilities, recruiting, coach salaries, etc., which may still be the case. Wildcat NIL throws a bit of a wrench into everything. What exactly is the purpose of each organization, and is there some overlap?


I have been in contact with the individuals that run Wildcat NIL. I had so many questions of my own and from friends that I thought reaching out to them would be a good idea. I sent an email telling them that I was writing an article about NIL and had some questions. The point of the article was not only to get some answers to some questions but to help promote the organization and get people to donate.

They asked for me to email my questions over, so I did. Then they said they couldn’t answer most of my questions because of confidentiality reasons, so they suggested a phone call. We set up a few days and times for calls, but we never connected. I even set up a Zoom call one day, and I was the only one who showed up. I followed up with a phone call and message and never received a callback. The funny thing about this is I am a potential customer. I’m no big fish by any means, but I have a little bit of extra income to give to a good cause as long as I feel comfortable with the organization and am treated with respect. I think that the ship has sailed with this group.

Here are some questions I have. I don’t think any of these are controversial, but see if you disagree with me.

1. Can you explain the difference between The Ahearn Fund and Wildcat NIL? Would you advise people to give to one or the other? Or both?

It seems that The Ahearn Fund is a fund that the athletic department has access to and is used for more traditional athletic department activities, while the Wildcat NIL is for funneling money directly to recruits and players.

2. Does the money donated go directly to student-athletes?

I don’t know where the money goes, so I can only assume.

3. Who manages the funds in the Wildcat NIL?

Is there a committee or board of directors that votes and decides whom the money goes to or how it is spent?

4. Is the person, or people, managing the money in the Wildcat NIL paid to do it?

I assume they are, but this is not at all clear.

5. Is there an oversight committee?

From the outside looking in, this looks like a few ex-players out there trying to fundraise to get K-State commits and players paid. It just seems like this organization was put together off the cuff. I could be wrong, but that’s why I’m asking.

6. Do other Universities have similar NIL organizations?

How is this the same or different?

7. How do you determine an athlete’s “worth?” Or is that even part of the equation?

Say you have a million dollars in a fund. What percentage does your star quarterback Avery Johnson get versus the third-string kicker? And who decides who gets what?

8. Can donating members specify their money goes to specific athletes or programs?

I’m guessing the answer to this is “no,” but what if I only care about football and I want my money to go to the football program? Can that be done?

9. Does the K-State athletic department have any say as to where the money goes or is it strictly determined by Wildcat NIL?

The organizations say they work together, but I’m sure there are disagreements about where and to who the money goes. Who gets the final say?

I have just some simple questions.

Is there anything out of line here? Would you give to an organization in which you have no idea where your money is going once you send it?

It seems you have to have blind trust or blind faith to give to Wildcat NIL. I sure don’t have it at this point.

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