NORMAN, Okla. — Even in retirement, Barry Switzer has been all about the team.
The former OU football coach remains a legend in Norman. He led the Sooners to three national championships during his time at the helm from 1973 through the 1988 season.
After dominating the game of college football, Switzer is now helping OU in the game that is name, image and likeness.
Switzer announced a NIL collective program last Friday named 1Oklahoma. The 501(c)3 nonprofit plans to collaborate with fellow in-state nonprofits by leveraging the name, image and likeness of OU athletes.
“I’ve just always taken an interest in providing and helping our program,” Switzer told The Oklahoman earlier this week. “We provide an equal opportunity for all of our athletes and all of our programs to earn money. We’re at the top of the game right now, from what I’ve seen out there.”
OU joins an ever-growing list of schools with at least one NIL collective. The known total is nearing four dozen.
Switzer said in a press release that every OU football player will have an opportunity to earn between $40,000-$50,000 per year through the collective program while still being able to participate in other NIL opportunities outside of 1Oklahoma.
Athletes in other sports have the same opportunities through 1Oklahoma, though it did not provide estimates for how much they might earn.
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So, how will athletes get paid?
The answer: Fans donate to 1Oklahoma, and the collective program then disburses those funds to athletes. How much athletes receive is based on how much they work with partnered nonprofit organizations.
Once athletes choose a nonprofit that aligns with their values, they will use their name, image and likeness for promotion.
A checklist will detail what they need to do each month. Duties can range from social media posts to autographed memorabilia that the nonprofit organization can then auction off.
The partnered nonprofits benefit from the promotion, while the athletes are compensated for their time by 1Oklahoma’s donor-generated funds. The collective program will also have a portal that will detail the transactions.
“We want to make sure that we can put our 1Oklahoma athletes in a position where they can make some money and make a difference,” 1Oklahoma chief executive officer Scott Williams told The Oklahoman.
“We really feel like we’re going to have some of your most significant donors in the state of Oklahoma that are passionate about either the University of Oklahoma, OU sports or just doing something good.”
Despite exclusively working with OU athletes, 1Oklahoma doesn’t directly work with the university. All NIL deals must be approved by OU compliance, but 1Oklahoma is its own entity.
Still, OU will benefit from the program as well. The world of college sports is awash in NIL deals, so the added opportunity for athletes to generate income should be a major selling point for Sooner coaches on the recruiting trail.
“I’ve always been a team guy, and I’ve always wanted to help Oklahoma,” Switzer said. “I want to help these coaches here to compete in the portal and get the athletes they need to build the program.”
OU wins, but so do in-state nonprofit organizations.
There’s no fee for them to partner with 1Oklahoma, and nonprofits are already taking advantage of the opportunity. Since the unveiling of the collective program last Friday, Williams said more than 40 nonprofits have signed up as partners.
Those nonprofit organizations range from children’s hospitals to pet rescue shelters to sober living homes.
“I’ve already heard from a number of nonprofits in Oklahoma who are saying, ‘What is this about and how can we be a part of it?'” said Kelli Masters, an Oklahoma-based sports agent and attorney who helps with the legal side of 1Oklahoma. “These are smaller nonprofits and some really large nonprofit organizations in Oklahoma.
“We’re hearing from groups all over the state, which is cool. It’s not just Norman or even Oklahoma City. It’s statewide.”
As it stands, 1Oklahoma is available to OU football, men’s basketball and softball players. The collective plans to reveal partnered athletes from those sports over the next few months and is aiming to offer its services to the entire football team once the season starts in September.
Switzer says 1Oklahoma’s vision is to expand to other OU sports, although that’ll come later down the line.
The collective program’s mission to help the community is in the early stages, but there’s already a growing excitement about its possibilities.
“It’ll be a good program,” Switzer said. “Everybody has a chance to make some money.”
Follow Justin Martinez on Twitter @JTheSportsDude