New Organization also Becomes “An Official Partner of Drake Athletics”

DU Great Collective announced today that it has been established to support Drake University’s student-athlete name, image and likeness (NIL) opportunities, with a focus on Drake Basketball.

“We are thrilled to announce the formation and launch of the DU Great Collective,” said Kyle Mertz, director of the nonprofit organization. “We’re excited to empower Drake student-athletes by offering them financially-rewarding, impact-driven NIL deals and professional networking support. We’re also driven by the ability to support local, charitable organizations by facilitating their promotional partnerships with our student-athletes and continuing the tradition of being Des Moines’ Hometown Team!”

DU Great Collective, a third-party entity, will help Drake male and female student-athletes with NIL opportunities that strengthen the Bulldog community. Mertz added, “The initial support from our loyal community and Drake fans has been outstanding, and we are excited about the impact we can create together. Fans can anticipate seeing announcements regarding exclusive donor events and VIP access.”

“There has never been as many ways for fans of Drake Athletics to make an impact on the lives of our student-athletes,” said Director of Athletics Brian Hardin. “Support to the Bulldog Club helps our athletics department operating budget, restricted gifts are directed to specific sport excellence funds, capital giving assists our Knapp Center renovation project, the new Blue & White Scholars program rewards academic achievement, and now the DU Great Collective provides name, image, and likeness opportunities for our student-athletes.

“Drake fully supports this new era of collegiate athletics,” Hardin added. “We have the opportunity to distinguish ourselves amongst our peers and we will explore the NIL capabilities for student-athletes with intentionality and integrity. I am grateful for the steps Kyle Mertz and his colleagues have already taken through the DU Great Collective, and I encourage our supporters to learn more about it.”

Additionally, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit announced it is “An Official Partner of Drake Athletics” through a sponsorship agreement with LEARFIELD’s Drake Sports Properties, the university’s longtime athletics multimedia rightsholder which oversees the corporate partner program.

The “Official Partner” designation allows for DU Great Collective to receive significant visibility across multiple Drake Athletics’ platforms for reaching the loyal and passionate Bulldog fanbase.

Bulldog fans, alumni and supporters interested in learning more about DU Great Collective can visit

All Bulldog sponsorships are managed by Drake Sports Properties, which does not represent student-athletes. LEARFIELD represents Drake University and the Drake Relays and the athletics intellectual property (IP) as part of the company’s exclusive multimedia rights agreement. Bulldog sponsors interested in the use of IP in specific brand activations utilizing student-athlete NIL can be secured separately utilizing the LEARFIELD Allied initiative via Drake Sports Properties.

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