PISCATAWAY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18: The Rutgers Scarlet Knights run onto the field before a college football game against the Delaware Blue Hens at SHI Stadium on September 18, 2021 in Piscataway, New Jersey. Rutgers defeated Delaware 45-13. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)

By Chuck O’Donnell – Editor, TapInto New Brunswick 

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ – An agreement between Rutgers athletics and Jacksonville, Fla.-based Brandr Group unveiled Thursday could result in a windfall for the athletes who play on the 24 teams at Rutgers.

Brandr is a brand management, marketing and licensing agency that uses group licensing rights to create co-branded opportunities for athletes and their schools.

The agreement with Rutgers is like others Brandr has forged with fellow Big Ten schools including, Nebraska, Illinois, Michigan State and Maryland, as well as dozens of other athletic departments in schools across the country.

The deal gives athletes a choice to join to share in profits from sales of merchandise, including jerseys, bearing their names and their school’s intellectual property.

Brandr has stepped into the new space created last year when long-enforced, NCAA rules that prohibited college athletes from profiting on their names, image and likeness were finally cast aside.

These new rules – often referred to as NIL rules – have cleared the way for some collegiate athletes to make a pretty penny. For instance, ESPN.com reports that Ohio State quarterback Quinn Ewers has signed an NIL deal with GT Sports Marketing for $1.4 million.

Brandr has been a leader in school-athlete co-branding, listing Miami, Boston College and Georgia among its many clients.

How much money this deal will mean to Rutgers student-athletes depends on several factors, but Wesley Haynes, the president and founder of The Brandr Group, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution last month that he estimated athletes generally should be able to get a 10% to 14% royalty from co-branded merchandise.

“I think people are surprised at the size of this opportunity. They probably shouldn’t be,” Haynes said. “Consider that over 50% of all products sold in the professional sports marketplace are player-plus-team. It may take a couple of years, but the college marketplace is moving really quickly towards mimicking that.”

According to a press release from Rutgers Athletics on Thursday, Brandr will develop and facilitate group licensing opportunities on behalf of current student-athletes. Some examples of group licensing include an athlete’s inclusion in trading card programs, video games and co-branded jerseys, which would include the student-athlete’s name and number, as well as Rutgers University trademarks and logos.

“We are very excited to announce our partnership with The Brandr Group,” said Jeff Poulard, Rutgers’ assistant athletic director of compliance and DEI. “As the NIL landscape continues to evolve, we remain committed to making strategic partnerships that provide robust tools and resources for all our 730 student-athletes. TBG is an industry leader in the group licensing space, and we look forward to creating exciting new opportunities that will allow licensees, retailers and ultimately our fans to support our Scarlet Knights through co-branded merchandise.”