Perceived lack of progress with NIL, players leaving frustrate Wichita State basketball fans

With several scholarship players on the Wichita State University men’s basketball team entering the transfer portal, some Shocker fans are concerned.
Published: Apr. 25, 2022 at 4:51 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update April 26: Former Wichita State baseball player Tymber Lee confirmed Tuesday that he is part of a group that will represent WSU athletes as part of an NIL collective. The group includes another former WSU baseball player, Tyler Weber, and representatives from 6th Man Strategies - Matt Baty, Andy Frieze and Chrissy Robben.

With several scholarship players on the Wichita State University men’s basketball team entering the transfer portal, some Shocker fans are concerned about the program.

A Wichita State fan started a GoFundMe page to “save Shocker sports.” In three days, the crowdfunding effort raised nearly $2,800.

It’s been a hot topic among the Shocker faithful: What will the future of Shocker athletics look like in a new era with the emergency of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) deals.

“Student athletes, in particular, they understand the importance of NIL where it… They can really optimize and they want to be in an environment and in a community and at a school that understands that capacity,” said Mattress Hub Founder and CEO Ryan Baty who is also the Co-Founder of 6th Man Strategies NIL Collective.

With 6th Man Strategies, Baty helps to support the University of Kansas men’s and women’s basketball teams and the university’s football program.

“The most marketable people on the college campus that have the biggest brand power is the student athlete,” Baty said.

In the NCAA transfer portal, more than 1,400 college basketball players are looking for a new home. Wichita State Athletic Director Darron Boatright said he chose to educate student athletes on NIL rather than raising money for them.

“I do believe some of the kids that have chosen to leave our basketball program were made to believe that there is a pot of money waiting for them if they go to “X” school,” Boatright said.

Baty said he thinks at Wichita State, “this is going to be a consequential part of business moving forward.”

Boatright said the NCAA led him to believe NIL was supposed help student athletes build brands and monetize their brands through social media, endorsements, and commercials. He said he thinks athletes are being led to believe they can make more money at our schools.

“You could not utilize NIL endorsements in recruiting, you couldn’t entice young people to come to your school based upon what is waiting for them when they get there. And that is exactly what is happening,” he said.

The message to Shocker fans…

“When Wichita State basketball is good, it’s good for this city. And if embrace it as a community, when student athletes come here to Wichita State, not only are they going to be able to play for a great program, historic program in a wonderful venue, but they’re going to be supported by a community that sees their value and is willing to invest into those brands,” Baty said.

The good news for Wichita State’s fans is that an NIL collective deal is in the works.

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