A little tidbit in this piece about Georgia’s Collective, the Classic City Collective, and its new fundraising initiative, The 21 Club:
It’s important to note that the Classic City Collective is not an arm of the university or its athletics program. It’s an independent LLC that receives no funding from UGA. However, Hibbs is allowed to communicate with Smart to ensure the collective is working in the program’s best interests. This has included Hibbs asking Smart which players may need some opportunities to earn some extra money.
“I’ve asked, ‘Have any of the players come to you and say they sent their money to their parents? Do they need extra money?’ I’d like to help those people out first,” Hibbs said. “Stetson (Bennett) and Brock (Bowers), those guys have agents working on their behalf. Not everybody has that. I want to help the players who need it.”
As for recruiting, the Classic City Collective has a central hub that the coaches are able to use to show recruits what kind of NIL deals players are getting. The coaches are allowed to tell recruits how much money current players have earned and what kind of opportunities are available. However, the coaches cannot say these opportunities are guaranteed to the recruits themselves or have them sign any contracts.
“We are 100 percent aligned. Kirby and I, Josh Brooks and the athletic department,” Hibbs said. “I worked there, they trust me. They understand I am not going to put them in a bad position. I’m not putting them behind the eight-ball. That has allowed us a lot more flexibility. That has allowed us to get further down this road quickly because of those relationships. I’m very transparent with everyone with what we’re doing.”
It seems to me there are two approaches that can be taken when it comes to collectives: one, allow the boosters to raise as much NIL money as they can without the school imposing any controls; and, two, placing some restrictions on the collective by running it subject to input from the program, even if that means some dollars are sacrificed. Georgia, like Alabama, appears to be squared up in the latter camp.