Frequently Asked Questions
Ole Miss participates in the most competitive league in college athletics – the SEC West – and we value the student-athletes who represent Ole Miss in that effort. In order for Ole Miss to compete in NIL, and fairly compensate our athletes for their publicity rights, it is necessary to pool and harness the collective resources of the alumni and supporters of Ole Miss, and its alumni-related businesses. The Grove Collective allows us to be stronger together, providing the platform through which all alumni and supporters of Ole Miss may quickly and easily contribute to this cause.
The Grove Collective enters into Name-Image-Likeness Agreements (“NIL Agreements”) with Ole Miss student-athletes. The student-athletes are selected by The Grove Collective’s Leadership Committee. Under the NIL Agreement and in return for compensation, a student-athlete licenses his or her publicity rights to The Grove Collective, and The Grove Collective utilizes the publicity rights by promoting the student-athlete on this website, at events, and in other ways. Compensation is paid in monthly installments to student-athletes, and to minimize tax issues for the student-athletes, Grove Collective makes estimated tax payments on behalf of the student-athletes to federal and state taxing authorities during the term of each student-athlete’s NIL Agreement.
The Mississippi Intercollegiate Athletics Compensation Rights Act (effective July 1, 2021, amended April 18, 2022) legally authorizes the activities of The Grove Collective. Under the Act, individuals or entities acting independently or “collectively” may compensate a student-athlete for license of his or her publicity rights. The Act prohibits regulatory bodies, such as the NCAA, from infringing upon the student-athlete’s right to receive NIL compensation and bars the NCAA from penalizing Ole Miss and its athletic programs for any activities which are permitted by the Act.
The Grove Collective is a Mississippi limited liability company in good standing. The members of The Grove Collective LLC are William Liston III and Matthew C. McDonald.
Yes. All of The Grove Collective’s NIL Agreements with student-athletes are non-exclusive, which means that a student-athlete may enter into additional NIL Agreements with other businesses or third parties. In fact, multiple Grove Collective student-athletes have entered into additional NIL Agreements with apparel manufacturers, media companies, and other businesses. The Grove Collective administers many of those third-party NIL Agreements by drafting contracts for use by the third parties and allowing the third parties to utilize The Grove Collective’s compliance and payment mechanisms for purposes of performance of third-party NIL Agreements. This provides a turn-key solution for third parties who desire to enter into NIL Agreements with Ole Miss student-athletes.
No. The contract amounts vary based on the specific student-athlete and the value of his or her publicity rights. For instance, higher-profile athletes may receive more compensation than lesser-known athletes. Each NIL Agreement is individually negotiated and agreed upon by the student-athlete and The Grove Collective. The Grove Collective also assists its student-athletes when they desire to enter into third-party NIL Agreements, by which the student-athletes may earn additional compensation.
Most NIL Agreements entered into by The Grove Collective are limited in time and scope to provide protection of funds in the event of unforeseen circumstances. In addition, under the Mississippi Intercollegiate Athletics Compensation Rights Act, all NIL Agreements entered into by The Grove Collective must terminate on the date that the student-athlete ceases participation in intercollegiate athletics at Ole Miss.
Between 85-90%. The Grove Collective’s overhead costs are very low, since much of the work to establish it, including necessary legal work and costs related to engagement with Ole Miss student-athletes and third parties, is being done pro bono. In order to continually service its student-athletes, The Grove Collective incurs expenses for accounting; website maintenance and hosting; content creation; credit/debit card transactional fees; fan-player events; and other routine costs associated with operating a web-based NIL collective. A significant amount of expenses incurred prior to the website going live, including website development costs, were funded by the generous contributions of The Grove Collective’s Leadership Committee and a host of other Grove Collective contributors. Going forward, The Grove Collective will employ an administrator to manage the website and program, but The Grove Collective will always be supported by the contributions of numerous individuals who will continue to freely donate their time and effort. The mission of The Grove Collective – to deliver maximum NIL value to Ole Miss student-athletes – will not waiver.
No. Under the Mississippi Intercollegiate Athletics Compensation Rights Act, a NIL program must be a separate legal entity from a university – the Act prohibits universities from being parties to NIL Agreements entered into with a student-athletes. However, the Act specifically allows communication between Ole Miss and The Grove Collective and expressly authorizes Ole Miss to facilitate engagement between student-athletes and The Grove Collective.
Yes. The Grove Collective can work with you to arrange specific NIL Agreements or NIL transactions with specific student-athletes.
You can contribute monetarily to The Grove Collective on a one-time or recurring basis and help the program meet the contractual obligations it incurs in licensing the publicity rights of Ole Miss student-athletes.
Your business can advertise with The Grove Collective, and become a named sponsor on The Grove Collective website. This, too, helps The Grove Collective meet its NIL-contractual obligations. The Grove Collective believes that your expense will be tax deductible as an advertising expense for your business, but encourages you to consult your own tax professional.
You can contact The Grove Collective about utilizing a specific Ole Miss student-athlete for advertising, product development and marketing, or for any other legitimate business purpose. The Grove Collective is very flexible and adept at facilitating such agreements.
You can purchase Grove Collective merchandise, player-branded merchandise (when available), and participate in fan-player events.
No. The Grove Collective is not a 501(c)(3) entity to which non-advertising contributions are tax deductible. Early legal investigation by the founders of The Grove Collective indicated that the purpose for which Mississippi law authorizes operation of The Grove Collective – to compensate student-athletes for their publicity rights – was not likely to qualify as a charitable purpose. The Grove Collective is aware of NIL programs in states other than Mississippi which are attempting to gain tax exempt status and is monitoring those developments. In the event that developments indicate a Mississippi NIL program may function as a charitable entity, The Grove Collective may add charitable features to its program.
No. The Grove Collective is an Ole Miss-exclusive NIL program.
No. The Grove Collective is available for entry into NIL agreements with student-athletes who participate in any intercollegiate sport at Ole Miss.
By contacting The Grove Collective and expressing your desire to assist. This is a team effort. We welcome the assistance of others in carrying out the mission of The Grove Collective.