Michigan State has been one of the schools benefitting the most from the legalization of college athletes receiving money for their name, image, and likeness (NIL). And, a lot of that success has had to do with Phoenix Suns owner Matt Ishiba.
Matt Ishiba was a walk-on point guard for Michigan State from 1999-2002, and he was on the roster of their national title team in 2000, as well. Since then, he’s made a boatload of money.
He helped his father’s business, United Wholesale Mortgage, go from a very minor player in the market to a huge player after the 2008 financial crisis saw many of the top dogs in the mortgage industry go belly-up. Ishiba was named CEO of the company of 2013, and is now worth an impressive $6.4 billion.
He had been bankrolling much of Michigan State’s robust NIL operation that has put back-to-back football recruiting classes in the top 25 for a school that doesn’t typically recruit that well. And, he’s helped fund Tom Izzo’s roster, a group that many think can make a run to the final four next year.
But, Ishiba will no longer be doing deals between his company and Michigan State athletes. Here is MLive with more details.
“A name, image and likeness deal that paid more than 100 Michigan State athletes thousands of dollars a year is coming to an end.
United Wholesale Mortgage and founder Mat Ishbia are ending their NIL deal with Michigan State football, men’s basketball and volleyball players at the end of June, according to a letter recently sent by the company to MSU players.
The company cited Ishbia’s purchase earlier this year of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury as the reason for ending the program.
“As an owner of two professional sports teams, it was asked that Mat/UWM discontinue this NIL partnership to avoid any actual or perceived conflict of interest,” according to the letter, which does not specify the entity that asked for the termination of the deal.
Michigan State spokesperson Matt Larson said that the school did not ask Ishbia or UWM to end the deals.
“Michigan State athletics is deeply appreciative of Mat Ishbia’s continued support for our department and sport programs,” Larson said in a statement. “Through his gifts, he provides resources for student-athletes, including state-of-the-art facilities and a transformational Spartans for Life Fund which assists with career development and life after athletics.”
The letter goes on to state that “UWM and Mat remain dedicated to supporting Michigan State University and the athletic programs and will continue to do so within the guardrails established.”
That seems like a huge setback for Mel Tucker and Tom Izzo.