Digital Collectibles Platform Launches to Support College Athletes

NIL legislation now allows fans to support their favorite players legally

Chicago, IL, July 27, 2022 — With University of Illinois athletes on its first roster of players, NextName is now offering fans the opportunity to purchase the “name, image, likeness” (NIL) of a team and individual player through the sale of their digital collectibles, also known as non-fungible tokens (NFTs). The Company will be offering team tokens and player tokens with the majority of the net proceeds of all tokens going to the players. Team tokens are on sale now and player tokens will go up for sale in August.

The platform was created following last year’s landmark Supreme Court ruling which opened the door for college athletes to receive compensation by restricting the NCAA’s rule-making authority. Following the ruling, the NCAA changed its policy to permit student-athletes to receive compensation for their NIL. In addition, some states also passed laws to support college athletes and their ability to profit from the sale of their NIL, including Illinois.

As part of its launch, NextName has created professionally designed NFTs for University of Illinois athletes and their respective teams. This opportunity allows fans to support the team as a whole and individual players. Universities will also receive a share of the proceeds through a direct licensing agreement with the school.

“Our goal was to create a transparent method for fans of college athletes to support their favorite players, teams, and hometown heroes,” explains NextName co-founder Steve Thayer. “Players can now share in the multi-billion-dollar college sports industry that has previously left them out.”

Some alumni booster organizations, known as ‘collectives,’ are also trying to find ways to compensate and entice college athletes to attend a particular university, but have been warned by the NCAA that “pay-to-play” arrangements are still in violation of NCAA rules. By contrast, the NextName platform offers no compensation or other arrangements to any incoming players and simply provides compensation opportunities for the players who have already signed with a team.

NextName was founded by Steve Thayer, a 1988 University of Illinois LAS Economics graduate and 2018 Chicago Illini of the Year, and his son, Ryan Thayer, a 2021 University of Illinois graduate of The Gies College of Business. The duo sought to find a way to support collegiate athletes nationwide, both legally and fairly.

Following its initial University of Illinois launch of digital collectibles, NextName plans to expand its offering to include digital collectibles from other schools and universities across the country.

For more information, visit


For Immediate Release
Contact: Ann Pitcher

NextName News

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fan Sign-Up

Sign-up to stay informed on the latest news and updates.

"*" indicates required fields



Subscribe to receive the latest news and updates from NextName.

"*" indicates required fields

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.