116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — After a gut-wrenching, 24-7, loss to Purdue in October that spoiled Iowa’s perfect season, Tyler Linderbaum had a reminder that there are “a lot of other challenging things for individuals out there” — things more challenging and important than football and not far away.
The Solon native started selling Iowa Wave-themed T-shirts in the previous week with 100 percent of profits benefiting the University of Iowa’s Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Fans could choose between black, gray or gold designs that had art of Linderbaum and the Kinnick crowd waving with “support our kids” text.
He first set a goal to raise $15,000. He hit that in the first week. Then the new goal was $25,000. He hit that, too, and finished with about $30,000 raised.
Had the fundraiser been in 2020 instead of 2021, Linderbaum’s philanthropic efforts would’ve been an NCAA violation. But changes in rules around name, image and likeness that started on July 1 opened the door for Linderbaum and others to be part-time philanthropists.
Punter Tory Taylor’s “punting is winning” T-shirt, which Des Moines-based Raygun sells, might be the most visible of the team’s philanthropic NIL endeavors.
“They've made their way back to Australia as well now, so there'll be a few around town whenever I head back,” Taylor said.
Special teams coordinator LeVar Woods’ family has been a fan of the shirts, too.
“I found two of them in my house,” Woods said during Iowa’s bye week. “They’re not my size, though.”
Taylor is not allowed to make money off NIL as a foreigner because of student visa restrictions, but he can use his name, image and likeness to raise money for a charity.
So he picked Count The Kicks. The Clive-based nonprofit works to educate soon-to-be parents on tracking fetal movements to prevent stillbirths.
It already was an important cause for Iowa’s staff. Head coach Kirk Ferentz’s granddaughter — and offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz’s daughter — Savvy was born prematurely and died in 2017. Kirk and his wife Mary Ferentz donated $1 million afterward for neonatal research.
Taylor said the T-shirts have been “taking off a lot more than I thought it would.”
“It really was one of those things if I could make a couple-hundred dollars and send it to charity, that’d be great,” Taylor said.
He made a lot more money than that. As of the week leading into the Nebraska game, Taylor raised about $12,000 for the charity.
“I'm just really grateful for everyone going out there and buying a T-shirt,” Taylor said.
Woods called Taylor’s fundraising “very, very admirable.”
“It speaks volumes to who Tory Taylor is as a person,” Woods said.
Linderbaum isn’t the only Tyler on the football team to raise money for the Stead Family Children’s Hospital.
Running back Tyler Goodson’s fundraiser, which still is open until Dec. 31, takes a sweepstakes approach. Fans can buy raffle entries to win the grand prize — a virtual meet-and-greet with Goodson, autographed game-worn Nike cleats and apparel from his “TG” brand.
At least half the profits will benefit the children’s hospital, said Jake Olson, the CEO of Engage, a talent-booking platform working with Goodson on the fundraiser.
Each entry costs $2.50. Anyone who buys 40 or more entries is guaranteed a “personalized holiday shoutout video.” Anyone who buys 200 entries — that’s a $500 price tag — is guaranteed a 10-minute Zoom call with Goodson.
“Goodson’s campaign is really awesome,” said Jim Cavale, the CEO of INFLCR. His company works with more than 200 athletics departments to provide athletes with tools to profit off NIL.
Philanthropic NIL activity isn’t exclusive to Iowa’s program, Cavale and Olson have noticed.
“We’ve seen some,” Cavale told The Gazette. “I expect to see a lot more.”
Engage’s platform has about 200 college athletes, Olson said, and Goodson is the third or fourth to use it to raise money from charity.
“I imagine it'll be more as time goes on,” Olson said.
Many professional athletes and performers have done similar fundraisers to what Goodson is doing, though, Olson said.
Looking ahead, Goodson’s fundraiser could be a model for other collegiate athletes figuring out how to maximize their use of names, images and likenesses.
“The best part of NIL is athletes understanding their influence and impact on society beyond sports sooner,” Cavale said. “I love what he did because it’s an example that we'll be using to hopefully motivate a lot of other athletes to follow.”
Comments: (319) 398-8394; email@example.com