A group of prominent University of Oregon alumni, led by Nike co-founder Phil Knight, are joining forces to help athletes score more off the field by allowing them to better monetize their name, image and likeness (NIL).
The group of major donors has formed Division Street Inc., a new venture focused on accelerating NIL opportunities for Oregon college athletes. The company will be headed by former Nike executives Rosemary St. Clair as CEO and Rudy Chapa, who will be chairman of the board.
Many wondered how Knight would leverage his resources in this new era of college athletics, as rules now allow athletes to be compensated for their personal image and celebrity. This is one of the first public NIL-related moves from the Nike boss, who is tapping into his network. “Led by Rosemary and Rudy, I am confident they will bring innovation and creativity to this new world,” Knight said in a statement.
Division Street has already announced it will work closely with brand creative company Adopt, which was co-founded by Klutch Sports Group CEO Rich Paul. The powerful agent started the company with former Nike and Jordan Brand executives Nicole Graham, David Creech and Josh Moore, who bring extensive backgrounds in branding and marketing.
Also entering the Division Street fold is New York Liberty guard and ex-Ducks basketball star Sabrina Ionescu, who will serve as chief athlete officer, working in an advisory role and hosting quarterly seminars for athletes. Adopt, meanwhile, has also recently hired former Oregon wide receiver and Jordan Brand executive Garren Strong.
Division Street will collaborate with the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and School of Journalism and Communication. The company will also work alongside a newly formed brand collective (Oregon Accelerator) aimed at maximizing NIL earning power for athletes on campus.
Knight, who recently donated another $500 million to the university, formed Division Street alongside several well-known Oregon donors, including Pat Kilkenny, Jim Morse, Ed Maletis and the Pape Family.