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Sanford Urges Buffs Supporters To Engage With New NIL Collective

Nov 1, 2022

BOULDER — Colorado coach Mike Sanford called on supporters of CU Athletics to become involved with the newly formed Buffs4Life NIL Collective at his weekly Tuesday press conference.

Sanford called the collective a "game-changing narrative for our program."

The collective, announced last week, is a major step forward for CU Athletics as the Buffaloes continue to navigate the rapidly changing environment of Name, Image and Likeness legislation, which is having a dramatic impact on all of college athletics.

Buffs4Life is a non-profit organization that has long provided a support system in the form of financial assistance, mental health resources and a sense of community for former CU student-athletes in need.

Now, after months of planning and organization with the help of CU Athletics officials, Buffs4Life has created an NIL Collective that will be able to extend support to current student-athletes. Tax-deductible financial contributions to the collective can be made to the general fund that supports all CU student-athletes, or to a specific team, group or individual student-athlete. Fifteen percent of every donation will go to the Buffs4Life Foundation while the rest will go directly to compensating student-athletes for use of their name, image and likeness.

NIL programs at schools across the country have produced immediate impacts in the area of roster retention as well as attracting new athletes to programs.

Sanford said in his short time at CU — he was hired as Colorado's offensive coordinator last winter — he has personally witnessed the Buffs losing contact with potential student-athletes because of NIL programs at other institutions.

"We're in deep with a recruit, or a transfer, and even sometimes a personal connection to that transfer," Sanford said. "We're on the phone, everything's good, there's going to be an official visit and then all of a sudden it goes completely silent. You can't get a text back, you can't get any phone calls back."

Then, Sanford said, CU coaches discover that the particular player has found an NIL deal at another school.  "Literally a $300,000 or $400,000 deal is on the table," he said.

The environment is, quite simply, the new reality of college athletics.

"This is real," Sanford said, "and this is where we are stepping into this space as a football program. So I'm calling on former Buffs players, I'm calling on people in the CU community that support football and want us to have a great product on the field. This is where we have to go. This is not something that's just going to happen … It doesn't matter if it's a small gift or a major gift, everything is going to help get us to where we want to get … this is going to be a game-changing piece of the puzzle for our program going forward."

Strong NIL support will help CU not only stay in contention with potential student-athlete recruits, but also help in the area of roster retention. When CU develops outstanding young players, a strong NIL program will be one piece of the puzzle in keeping them at Colorado.

"The retention of this roster is by far the most important thing because we have some tremendous examples of growth," Sanford said. "That's how this program is ultimately going to be built into a championship-caliber program, is the retention and the development of some of our young depth. If we have to hit the reset button again with our roster I don't think that's going to be in the best interest of anything going forward. The part of the retention is for us as a CU community to step up to the challenge of embracing this new space that we're in."