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Collective Thoughts

Scott Wood ’13 talks about the Pack of Wolves NIL Collective and what it means for NC State’s student-athletes.

Illustration by Laurie Allen ’17.

A group of supporters of NC State athletics formed the Pack of Wolves NIL Collective in early 2022 to raise money that can be used to pay Wolfpack student-athletes for use of their name, image and likeness (NIL). The collective is similar to those launched to support athletics at other universities in response to a Supreme Court ruling in 2021 opening the door for college athletes to be paid for signing autographs, endorsing businesses or anything else that uses their name, image or likeness.

Former NC State basketball star Scott Wood ’13 is executive director of the collective, which operates independent of the university. NC State talked with Wood about how the collective works, what it means for Wolfpack athletes and for college athletics:

How does the collective work? There are different ways. We have many business sponsors who come in and they’ll target a particular athlete, and they’ll do social media posts for that restaurant or local business, do an event or something like that. We’re also trying to raise funds under an umbrella so we can target particular athletes throughout the university. Or we might have a business sponsor who comes in and says, “I don’t have a particular athlete that I want to be involved with, but I would like to help women’s basketball.” Then women’s basketball can do something for that business sponsor.

Is most of the money going to athletes in football and basketball because of their higher profile? There’s a lot of eyes on them. So, from a business perspective, they may be able to drive a lot of business through some high-profile athletes. But we’re trying to take care of every student-athlete. That is a long-term goal that is going to require a lot of fundraising, but all of these student-athletes put in the same amount of work.

How much can a student-athlete at NC State earn through NIL? A lot of it depends on how much the student-athlete wants to do. A lot of these kids don’t have a lot of time, so it’s hard for them to find time to do an autograph signing or some other thing. You see a lot of big numbers out there, but it’s just a lot of speculation.

Are you competing with the Wolfpack Club in terms of fundraising? We’re fishing from the same pond. But I think we have the understanding that the Wolfpack Club and Athletics, they need us to be successful. We have to be competitive in NIL. . . . to be successful in a Power Five conference.

Is this good for college athletics? I don’t know if I can answer that question. For the athletes, it’s an opportunity for them to meet businesses and create connections to set them up for success in life after athletics. It’s a scary thing for anybody that’s been an athlete. You don’t have a job, you haven’t done any internships, and all of a sudden you’re done with your sport. Now you have to go to the real world, where everyone has been building their résumé. All you have is basketball or swimming — that’s all it says on your résumé. With NIL, there’s an opportunity for us to bridge that gap.

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