The NIL Era has been the source of an impressive amount of drama in college football, and it’s hard to talk about that particular subject without discussing the impact it’s had on Texas A&M.
In 2022, Jimbo Fisher got incredibly defensive after rumors started to swirl that suggested the Aggies had secured the top recruited class in the country with the help of the millions of sponsorship dollars that were supposedly used to lure players to the program.
However, it was pretty hard to deny that money played a role when you took a look at the amount of cash that was distributed to members on the roster over the course of the 2022 campaign, although it didn’t necessarily translate to success on the field when you consider Texas A&M finished the wildly underwhelming season with a 5-7 record.
While boosters at a number of schools have formed fairly controversial NIL collectives designed to funnel money into the athletic program, Texas A&M took an interesting approach when it launched what was dubbed the “12th Man+ Fund” earlier this year, an internal, school-sanctioned program that used rewards to incentivize donors to contribute.
In June, Texas A&M was just one of many universities that received a letter from the NCAA reminding them that organizations that essentially amount to booster rewards programs are banned under the governing body’s rules, but athletic director Ross Bjork essentially told them to kick rocks while citing a Texas law gave the school the green light to operate one.
However, according to CBS Sports, Texas A&M apparently had a change of heart after the 12th Man+ Fund attracted the attention of the IRS, which released a memo back in June stating the collective was ineligible for the 501(c)(3) non-profit status it was leveraging to increase donations.
The university has opted to shutter the program and released a statement outlining the rationale behind the decision, saying:
“Following consultation with external advisors, the 12th Man Foundation is altering its approach to NIL, which includes discontinuing the 12th Man+ Fund.
This decision was made to ensure the 12th Man Foundation meets its high standards for compliance and to protect the organization’s mission.”
NIL is obviously here to stay, but it sure seems like a crackdown is coming.