As today’s era of college football athletics continues to dive further and further into the era of Name, Image, and Likeness, more and more schools, especially at the Division 1 level, are beginning to develop various initiatives aimed at aggregating and organizing NIL opportunities for student-athletes.
Many offer fans the opportunity to subscribe to a monthly contribution in exchange for access to special events, merchandise, etc., and those contributions are eventually funneled to athletes. Some initiatives require student athletes to complete service projects or fan outreach events, while others require athletes to simply be on the roster of a particular athletic team. Either way, NIL appears to be a major component to the future of college athletics, and schools are taking the steps to be competitive in that arena.
After long-standing outcries from fans asking the school’s athletic department to finally establish an NIL initiative after dragging their feet for nearly a year, the University of Iowa has announced a partnership with the SWARM Collective as part of a new, forward-thinking way to approach NIL.
“We here at the University of Iowa have a long-standing tradition of public service, and we believe our partnership with the SWARM Collective reflects that commitment to community service,” said Iowa Athletic Director Gary Barta.
The SWARM Collective, also known as the Sex Worker Advocacy and Resistance Movement, was established in 2009 in the UK to advocate for the rights of sex workers, decriminalization of sex work, and to help foster safe working conditions for sex workers across the world.
“We’re really excited for all the wonderful public service opportunities that will be afforded to athletes through SWARM. We’re looking forward to seeing our student athletes interacting with fans, whether it be through an online live streaming service, like Twitch, something simple like hanging out in downtown Iowa City and saying hello to the fans walking by, or anything in between,” added Farta.
Iowa’s offensive coordinator and underwhelming child Brian Ferentz also chimed in. “I’ve long been a supporter of the SWARM Collective and I’m so happy to be connected to this organization to not only support our student-athletes, but to advocate for all of the wonderful sex workers I’ve met over the years.”
Ferentz is quite passionate about the rights of sex workers. Brian continued, “Sex work is WORK. Believe me, chortling my balls isn’t just a walk in the park. They are professionals and they do their job well. I couldn't be more proud to be a part of the SWARM Collective.”
Hawkeye student-athletes seem to be excited about the opportunity as well, especially sixth-year senior basketball “player” and unimpressive offspring Connor McCaffery. “I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m a little nervous, but I’m also really excited for SWARM to show me new things that I otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to experience,” said the eldest spawn of gainfully-employed rage-beast Fran McCaffery.
While no details regarding any specific initiatives or opportunities that SWARM has planned for Iowa student-athletes have been made public, we do know who will be leading the way for the partnership. Also announced during the press conference was the Iowa SWARM Collective’s new Director of Operations, former Louisville and Panthanaikos Head Coach Rick Pitino.
Regarding the appointment of Pitino, Barta added,” We think Mr. Pitino’s resume speaks for itself, and that he will be exactly the right person to lead the initiative forward into the future.”
Pitino, the current Head Coach of the Iona University’s mens basketball team, could not personally be reached for comment. Mr. Pitino’s representative issued the following statement:
“Mr. Pitino is proud and honored to be named the Director of Operations of the SWARM Collective. While Mr. Pitino is fully committed to Iona University, Mr. Pitino is very efficient and quick in all aspects of his life. Mr. Pitino is certainly not known for leaving a job or anything prematurely. To show he is in it for the long haul, Mr. Pitino has pledged the first $3,000 donation to SWARM.”
To donate to the SWARM Collective, click here.