Bozeman's Bobcat Collective at Forefront of NCAA’s Name, Image and Likeness Era

From Fundraising to Community Engagement; MSU's New Era Under NIL is Shaping the Future of Student-Athletes

By Drew Monroe | Published on 2/1/2024, 5:00:00 AM

While most sports fans are spending their February following the Travis Kelce/Taylor Swift love story er... Super Bowl headlines, there are some in Bozeman spending their time thinking more about the Bobcat student-athletes. One such fan, is Brandon Vancleeve, former Bobcat running back (‘99-’01) and founder of the Bobcat Collective.

Vancleeve founded the Bobcat Collective in 2022 as a response to the new NIL era in college sports. NIL, short for Name, Image, and Likeness, refers to the policy allowing college athletes to monetize their personal brand, via endorsements or on places like social media, while maintaining their amateur status.

The Bobcat Collective, one of the first NIL collectives in the country, has maintained a mission of attracting talent to MSU and fostering a community where players can thrive both on and off the field.

Ten days was all it took for the Collective to raise $80,000 in their inaugural 2022 season allowing them to offer $1,000 NIL contracts to 80 football players. Since then, Vancleeve and the Collective have secured over 500 individual NIL deals for MSU student-athletes and have helped facilitate more student engagement within the Bozeman community, creating opportunities for the players to connect with local businesses and residents.

2024 looks promising for the Collective. They've planned four major meet-and-greet events across Montana for Bobcat athletes to interact with fans in various communities. And while the Collective has mainly focused on football and men’s and women’s basketball teams, Vancleeve is enthusiastic about expanding to include more sports in future seasons, supporting a wider array of MSU's athletic talent.

To join or find more information on Bobcat Collective you can visit www.bobcatcollective.com.