Nobody is naive enough to believe that boosters didn’t influence high school players before the NIL program came to be. Officially, it’s against the rules for them to play a role in signing athletes now too. But now they’re forming collectives that gather resources and help schools assemble NIL packages for young stars.
MAC Commissioner John Steinbrecher told Sports Illustrated: “We’ve talked long and hard about how institutions are not supposed to be in the business of setting up things, and we are seeing that institutions are now setting up these collectives. That’s not name, image, and likeness—that’s pay for play.”