To present the data on estimated funding available from NIL Collectives we rely on data from multiple sources as well as certain assumptions regarding the data. Unlike public Universities, virtually all NIL Collectives are privately controlled and have no obligation to publicly report information such as their annual fundraising or how funds are spent. Additionally, most NIL collectives are very protective of their funding.

Accordingly, our estimates are not what specific collectives receive in contributions. Instead, we are providing what we believe to be a reasonable estimate of funding a collective(s) supporting the school might be expected to generate in funding, given the school’s historic level of support from boosters.

Estimated NIL Collective Funding per School:

To arrive at this estimate, we begin with the total NIL Market 2023-24 projection of $ 1.17 billion as presented in the Opensource report:  NIL at Two of which $ 817 million is expected to be generated by NIL collectives supporting athletes at these schools:

Projected NIL Market
Generated by

# of

# of

Average per
Power 5 Schools$ 903 Million$ 677 Million6969$ 9,815,217
Group of 5 Schools$ 167 Million$ 72 Million6049$ 1,471,894
Other NCAA I Schools$ 90 million$ 68 Million23392 $ 733,696
All other Divisions$ 1 million
Totals$ 1.17 Billion$ 817 Million362210

How to make an estimated allocation of the $ 817 million to each school? The funding for NIL collectives comes virtually all from boosters and fans, who financially support the school athletic departments via ticket purchases and contributions. So our primary assumption is that school NIL collectives will generate contributions in proportion to the school’s existing base of booster athletic support. For example, we are assuming a school with $ 60 million in annual booster support will likely generate twice the amount of NIL collective support than a school with $30 million in annual booster support.

The resulting percentage used to estimate NIL collective support for NCAA I schools is just over16% of the school’s total athletic booster support – we applied this percentage to make the estimates of NIL Collectives to all schools uniformly:

School Booster SupportTicket SalesContributionsTotal SupportAverage
Totals - 69 Power 5 Schools 1,833,747,564 2,286,991,379 $ 4,120,738,943 $ 59,720,854
NIL Collective Funding - P5 Schools $ 677,250,000 $ 9,815,217
% of collective funding to total support16%16%

The data for school support is from reporting to the NCAA from public universities – private schools are not subject to public information disclosure. Much of this information was reported in the NCAA Finances report published by USA Today in April 2023. Of the 69 Power 5 Schools in the fall of 2023, 55 are public universities and are included in the report, 14 are private institutions and are not included.

Our initial impression was that these estimates are high. But upon review we saw that the goal of the University of Tennessee collective is $ 25 million and that they believe this goal is “absolutely attainable”. The head football coach at Ohio State recently stated they need $ 13 million in NIL money just to “maintain” their football roster. Using the 66% Power 5 average of NIL money allocated to Football, this translates into just under $ 20 million in NIL dollars to all Ohio State sports – very close to the estimate presented in this table. Additional spot checking revealed credible reports of Auburn raising over $ 13 million and Ole Miss raising over $ 10 million in NIL Collective money – both figures are somewhat higher the estimates contained in this table.

But there are also collectives that have generated funding substantially below these estimates. Michigan State’s primary collective recently cancelled or paused nearly all its contracts with football players due to lackluster support – less than 100 subscriptions to date. Michigan State has without question received the worst publicity of any college athletic department in recent years due to several serious incidents, but it’s also likely not a total outlier. Several other collectives have announced weak fundraising totals as well, including Northwestern’s which recently stated  that it was going to miss its Year 1 goal of raising $3 million by a substantial margin (possibly due to the firing of a popular coach). So while some of our estimates may be too low, others are clearly high.

The CEO of Student-Athlete NIL estimated that the average collective nationally has raised $ 3 million to $ 5 million which almost directly matches our computed average of just under $ 3.9 million for all 211 collectives currently in our database. So overall we believe the methodology used and resulting estimates are within reason and generally consistent with real world results.

Estimated NIL Collective Funding by Conference:

To arrive at this estimate we started with the estimated collective funding per school detailed above. Since only public universities were included in the data released by the NCAA and compiled originally by USA Today, we made the assumption that private universities in a conference will have the same average funding per collective as the average of the public universities within their conference.  Here’s how it’s computed for Power 5 Conferences for 2023:

Power 5 ConferenceSchoolsPublic Private NIL FundingAverage
ACC1587 142,777,502 9,518,500
Big 121486 138,507,190 9,893,371
Big Ten14131 143,316,089 10,236,863
Pac-1212102 74,396,345 6,199,695
SEC14131 178,252,874 12,732,348
Totals695217 $ 677,250,000 $ 9,815,217

Buyer’s Remorse? Collective Revenues might decline after 2024:

2024 could very well be the high point for NIL collective fundraising. Coaches are not bashful about expressing their need for collectives to be aggressive in their fundraising.  The expectation of most big donors to collectives is that their contributions will help put a winning team on the field or court.  And given that the players you make contributions for in one year can be gone the next season via the transfer portal, the expectation is to win now – there is no long-term investment.

But what happens if the team isn’t successful? Common sense says the collective donor is likely going to feel that his or her contribution was wasted, and this is already occurring. Alabama coach Nick Saban famously accused Texas A&M of buying every player on their team – so how did A&M’s 2023 season actually end up? Despite having the top ranked football recruiting class in the country, the team ended up with an unimpressive 7-6 record and the head coach lost his job before the season even ended.  To rub salt in the wound, the school agreed to pay the former coach an additional $ 77 million to not coach.

Buying a team doesn’t necessarily translate into winning. It’s difficult to be successful if players are there primarily for the money, and part-way through the season they are already looking where to transfer next for a bigger check. Schools need to ultimately decide whether they are going to rely on a revolving cast of expensive rental players or try to develop and operate a program the “old-fashioned” way.

Collective funds are often used to recruit high-school aged athletes, and this is a very risky bet. A situation recently made national headlines when a football recruit backed out of his commitment to the University of Florida when a $ 13 million offer made by a collective associated with the school fell through. The recruit ended up attending another school and his QBR rating would have ranked him 123rd among quarterbacks at the 133 FBS schools.  It’s not a stretch to say that collectives are gambling with funds that school athletic department used to professionally administer and responsibly allocate within the department.

Schools and collectives are competing for the same dollars – both are asking the same donors for contributions to the same cause: supporting the school’s athletic programs. Assuming donors are not going to double up, contributions to NIL collectives likely reduce contributions that historically went to school athletic departments. However, donors who become disillusioned with how their collective contributions are being spent, will likely either redirect their contributions back to the schools (and get a tax deduction) or simply not contribute.

Our current estimates are based on the Opendorse  projected 2023-24 NIL market. Time will tell, but this could well be the high-water mark of funds generated by collectives.

Why present these Estimates?

Unlike public Universities, virtually all NIL Collectives are privately controlled and have no obligation to publicly report information such as their annual fundraising and how those funds are spent.

In most cases, NIL collectives are very protective of their funding, and several states have actually stepped in to shield collectives from public scrutiny. Texas passed a bill that became effective in July 2023 barring state universities from releasing NIL documents in response to freedom of information act (FOIA) requests. With this action, Texas joins other states that have restricted public access to NIL activity including Connecticut, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, and Nebraska.

So these states have basically said  ”none of your business”.  But the problem with this position is that it does affect the public. State supported Universities rely on athletic booster donations to help fund their athletic programs including women’s and non-revenue sports. However the new landscape is that Schools and collectives are now competing for the same dollars – both are asking the same donors for contributions to the same cause – supporting the school’s athletic programs.  So assuming donors are not going to double up, contributions to NIL collectives likely reduce contributions that historically went to the Universities. The difference is the schools used these funds as they saw best and were required to report how contributions are spent. Conversely, NIL Collectives are privately operated and are under no obligation to report either how much in funds are raised or how they are spent.

The state laws restricting public access were also intended to bar access from the NCAA to some extent. NCAA bashing is in vogue right now, but the organization does try to maintain a level fair playing field for schools to compete – for example, every FBS football program is allowed to have a maximum of 85 players under scholarship. NIL collectives are threatening to tilt this field on end – say two schools recruiting the same athlete are both offering full scholarships, but one has a supporting collective that can offer that recruit $ 100,000 per year in guaranteed “NIL” money and the other school can only offer a scholarship and the opportunity for a good education, which school do you believe will likely receive the commitment? See our page on the Quiet Part Out Loud about how the recruiting landscape has changed due to emergence of NIL collectives.

Student-Athletes do deserve legitimate NIL opportunities, but the health of intercollegiate sports is also dependent on schools playing by the same rules on the same level playing field. Sports is an integral part of the college experience. It would be a disaster if scores of schools begin to drop sports due to the funding demands and the intercollegiate athletics landscape ends up being dominated by 30 or 40 super schools essentially funded by enormous football TV contracts. Everyone loses in this scenario, especially the reduced opportunities for student-athlete not looking to get paid, but just to play for the love of the game.

So we compile and present these statistics with the objective of bringing some light to this area.

Statistics compiled & edited by Patrick O’Rourke, CPA Washington, DC