Last Updated on February 7, 2023
Universities have had a learning curve when it comes to figuring out their relationship with college athletes in the NIL space. One university, Virginia Tech, has decided to create a 501(c)(3) called The Hokie Way to give its college athletes with NIL opportunities through charity work.
What is The Hokie Way?
The Hokie Way is an independent non-profit organization for college athletes at Virginia Tech. As of November, The Hokie Way received the 501(c)(3) status so that they can make contributions to charity in from donations to the athletic department.
How does the The Hokie Way work?
First, a donor can approach The Hokie Way to make a donation to the athletic program. Given that NIL laws restrict universities from just giving donations to college athletes for being athletes, students must earn the money through working. When a donor gives to The Hokie Way they can specify the cause or charity they want the money to go to.
Next, the Hokie Way then matches college athletes with the charity. College athletes are then paid to be the spokesperson for the charities through campaigns.
According to The Hokie Way press release in January, four charities that have partnered with The Hokie Way are: Feeding Southwest Virginia, Special Olympics of the New River Valley, Boys and Girls Clubs of Southwest Virginia, and The Life Ring Foundation.
How do the campaigns work?
Once college athletes partner with a charity, an athlete works through a campaign. Campaigns for The Hokie Way can be built through Triumph NIL, a sports marketing agency. A single athlete or a whole team can have a campaign for a charity. At this time no campaigns have run with partnerships between charities and The Hokie Way athletes.
What is the latest news with The Hokie Way?
Just one month after receiving 501(c)(3) status, in December 2022, The Hokie Way had a successful donation matching campaign. Jim Pearman, the Treasurer of The Hokie Way Board of Directors, in the press release stated, “We’re proud to share that over 550 Virginia Tech supporters contributed donations during the December campaign. With the matching commitment totaled contributions totaled more than $600,000.”
“The response and involvement of Hokie fans throughout the matching campaign was incredible,” Jim Petrine, President of The Hokie Way Board of Directors, said. “The funds raised are going to have a big impact on local charities, as well as VT student athletes.”
To learn more about The Hokie Way and the work they are doing, go to their website here.