The owner of a chain of Florida-based mixed martial arts gyms on Tuesday unveiled big plans to try to help Miami Hurricanes football players take advantage of the new rules that allow them to make money.
Dan Lambert, American Top Team owner and longtime Miami football fan, offered every fellow player (90 in total) on the Miami football team a monthly payment of $ 500 this year to advertise. of its gyms on social networks. American Top Team is the home training center for more than two dozen professional fighters, including Jorge Masvidal and Amanda Nunes.
Lambert’s bid to the Hurricanes – which could total up to $ 540,000 this year – is the highest reported amount for a college sports sponsorship deal since new state laws and NCAA rules were put in place. opened the door for players to make money last week.
âI want to help the kids. I want to reward them for what they do, and I also want a better product on the pitch,â Lambert told ESPN on Tuesday. “I want to improve the reputation of the school and the team that I love so much. I think this is a great opportunity to get involved and make a difference.”
Lambert said the offering is the biggest marketing effort ever by his MMA business. He says he’s not sure if he will continue to offer the same deal to Miami players in the years to come, but he already has bigger plans underway to create a cohesive way to deliver money to every player. Hurricane roster player.
Lambert has also started a company, called Bring Back The U, which will focus solely on putting money in the pockets of Miami football players. He said the company would try to rally support from local businesses to hire the players as a spokesperson. He says he also plans to hold fundraising events and then donate the proceeds to any local business that agrees to use the donation to pay Miami players as a spokesperson.
Lambert said he had had several conversations with the school’s compliance department to tell them about his plans. He also hired attorney Darren Heitner to make sure what he was doing didn’t violate new state laws.
âThere are inappropriate ways for fans to support their players, and now there is a legal way to do it,â Lambert said. “And if there’s a legal way, and you can dot the I’s and cross the T’s, I’ll do it.”
Heitner helped develop the new Florida Name, Image, and Likeness Act and consulted with several athletes and businesses seeking to use college athlete endorsers. He told ESPN that Lambert’s fanhood and previous donations he has made to the sports department don’t stop him from starting a business that makes sponsorship deals easier for Hurricanes players.
Heitner said Florida law only prohibits an entity that directly supported the college or sports department from paying for or facilitating these agreements. Lambert’s new company has no connection with the university.
âThere is no ban on an entity that can have a booster as a member,â Heitner said. “The only restriction is whether the entity itself supports the sports institution or department.”
Many state laws currently in place have similar language regarding the involvement of boosters. The NCAA rules, which dictate what is allowed in the more than 30 states that do not have NIL laws in place, also have no restrictions that would make an effort like Lambert’s against the rules.
Lambert said he had already had several inquiries about Bring Back The U from other local businesses since launching his new fundraising company Tuesday morning. He doesn’t have any concrete plans for their fundraising event yet, but he said every dollar they earn will end up in the hands of a Miami football player.
âI’m not looking to take advantage of it,â Lambert said. “I want to try to bring people together and improve our team. I have too many Gator and Seminole friends who have been laughing at me for 20 years. I want to turn the tide.”