Ann Arbor, Mich., February 13, 2024 – Making a strategic play to empower its student-athletes, the University of Michigan Athletics unveiled today a strategic investment in the growth of its in-house NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) program with the creation of an executive general manager (EGM) position in collaboration with Altius Sports Partners and a senior manager of business development in collaboration with Learfield and Michigan Sports Properties.

This forward-thinking initiative continues Michigan’s rapid embrace of the ever-evolving NIL ecosystem while further amplifying the impact through the unique collaboration of two industry powerhouses. Michigan’s new structure ensures that U-M student-athletes have a centralized point of contact and access to specialized expertise, enabling them to navigate and maximize NIL opportunities skillfully.

“I am pleased to announce this unique and strategic investment through a new agreement with Altius Sports Partners and the growth of our Learfield relationships,” stated Warde Manuel, the Donald R. Shepherd Director of Athletics. “The dedicated roles through ASP and Learfield provide a crucial step forward in supporting and empowering our student-athletes while combining three powerful brands aligned to capitalize on the dynamic opportunities within the realm of NIL.”

The foremost advisor to collegiate athletics departments, Altius Sports Partners will recruit, train, and supervise its in-house NIL EGM position. Collaborating closely with the athletics department, the EGM will play a pivotal role in enhancing all aspects of Michigan’s existing NIL program, educating stakeholders, elevating the overall experience of student-athletes, and increasing awareness of NIL initiatives within the business community and U-M collectives.

“We’re excited to partner with the University of Michigan, an institution that prioritizes comprehensive athlete support,” said Casey Schwab, CEO of Altius Sports Partners. “Our collaboration is designed to create initiatives that provide diverse opportunities for Michigan’s athletes in the NIL landscape. We’re eager to identify the right candidates for the in-house NIL EGM position – individuals who share our dedication to empowering athletes and proactively managing change in this dynamic landscape.”

The ASP-led executive general manager will work collaboratively with the newly dedicated position from Learfield, a senior manager of business development who will serve as the NIL subject matter expert for sponsorships while working closely with Athletics, Michigan Sports Properties’ vice president general manager, and local brands to identify opportunities to execute campaigns featuring student-athletes while protecting Michigan IP. Michigan will continue its robust NIL educational and branding support through its existing staff of experts and collaboration with the collectives supporting U-M Athletics, including Champions Circle.

The Altius Sports Partners GM Program, launched in July 2022, is a centralized initiative involving 18 participating institutions, including Michigan. This program emphasizes customized education, strategic guidance, and execution support for NIL initiatives tailored to each institution’s needs and priorities. Michigan is the first school to have an executive-level position in the program.

Learfield’s collaboration with Michigan Athletics began in 2001 and now consists of an enterprise-wide approach with support from its flagship multimedia rights division, licensed merchandise agency CLC, digital ticket and marketing platform provider Paciolan, and digital solutions leader SIDEARM Sports. Learfield is the commercial and intellectual property rights holder for the University of Michigan, along with 176 university partners featuring over 15,000 brand relationships, making the company the authority on NIL deal making. In February 2023, Learfield Allied, a first-of-its-kind initiative enabling brands to partner with universities and student-athletes to create co-branding opportunities around name, image, and likeness (NIL) was integrated into the partnership. Through the introduction of Learfield Allied, along with industry-leading branded content creation via Learfield Studios, Michigan Athletics has executed innovative NIL activations with notable brands such as Cheez-It, Ford, Peloton, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Meijer and provided fans with original series such as Those Who Stay and Michigan Made featuring the women’s basketball (Season 1) and women’s gymnastics (Season 2) teams.

“We are thrilled to continue our support of Michigan Athletics as it continues to build on its incredible momentum in the NIL space by strengthening connections with strategic brand partners,” said Solly Fulp, Executive Vice President, NIL Growth & Development at Learfield. “This enhanced partnership demonstrates Michigan’s commitment to supporting its athletics programs, student-athletes and passionate fan base.”

Recognized as an innovator in NIL as the first school to activate a group licensing deal with its student-athletes, Michigan Athletics continues to leverage its Academic Success Program, Athletics Career Center, and Leadership Development Programs, providing year-round opportunities for student-athletes. Michigan’s INFLCR-based VICTORS Program continues to be the largest NIL marketplace in the county.

For more details on the Michigan NIL EGM position, visit [link].


About Michigan Athletics
Michigan athletic teams have claimed 58 team national championships and 329 individual national titles over the years, beginning with football’s 1901 national championship and counting its most recent national championship (2024). Traditions of Michigan Athletics include the famous winged helmet, 416 Big Ten Conference championship teams, 174 Academic All-Americans, numerous Olympians and Olympic medalists and more.

About Altius Sports Partners
Since its inception in 2020, Altius Sports Partners (ASP) has become a leading advisor to elite collegiate athletics programs. ASP provides comprehensive solutions to elevate industry standards and promote excellence through its network of more than 40 Division I athletics departments, including nearly half of the Power Five institutions. ASP College offers strategic consulting services and an on-campus GM Program, featuring education, strategic guidance, and staffing for the evolving college sports landscape, including NIL. ASP has on-campus personnel at 18 institutions, and the GM Program is considered the industry standard. Beyond NIL, ASP offers guidance on various related issues, including licensing, sponsorship, agent relations, and Title IX. Additionally, ASP Brands facilitates collaboration between brands and athletes, executing national NIL campaigns on behalf of blue-chip brands such as Powerade and Shake Shack.

About Learfield
Learfield is a diversified and influential media and technology company powering college athletics. Through its digital and physical platforms, Learfield owns and leverages a deep data set and relationships in the industry to drive revenue, growth, brand awareness, and fan engagement for brands, sports, and entertainment properties. With ties to over 1,200 collegiate institutions and over 15,000 local and national brand partners, Learfield’s presence in college sports and live events delivers influence and maximizes reach to target audiences. With solutions for a 365-day, 24/7 fan experience, Learfield enables schools and brands to connect with fans through licensed merchandise, game ticketing, donor identification for athletic programs, exclusive custom content, innovative marketing initiatives, NIL solutions, and advanced digital platforms. Since 2008, it has served as title sponsor for the acclaimed Learfield Directors’ Cup, supporting athletic departments across all divisions.