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New NIL organization formed for SMU men's football and basketball student-athletes

Boulevard Collective, made up of SMU alumni, will collectively pool resources to be able to provide name, image and likeness opportunities to SMU student-athletes.

DALLAS — A new NIL organization has been created to help SMU student-athletes. 

Boulevard Collective, made up of SMU alumni, will collectively pool their resources to be able to provide name, image, and likeness (NIL) opportunities to SMU student-athletes.

"It's about operating a collective above board with traditional and meaningful activities that the student athletes are going to have to perform duties for in order to receive pay," said executive director Chris Schoemann.

"The Boulevard Collective, which is unaffiliated with SMU, is formed by Chris Kleinert, CEO of Hunt Realty Investments and Kyle Miller, president and CEO of Silver Hill Energy Partners," read a statement from the collective.

Schoemann tells WFAA on Saturday night the entire men's football and basketball rosters signed on to the NIL deal with Boulevard Collective. He says the collective is exploring extending its contracts to other teams with the university. 

Schoemann would not comment on how much money has been collected through donors or how much money each player will receive, telling WFAA that is "between the collective and the student-athlete."

The student-athletes will receive payments in exchange for things like appearances, "meaningful activities," and networking with third-party groups.

"The student athlete owns their name, image, and likeness. You're agreeing to let Boulevard be the agent who will utilize the name, image, and likeness, in order for pay," he told WFAA.

Schoemann said every student-athlete at SMU who signed on will initially get the same rate, but that could change over the season. Student-athletes can also get other NIL deals from other sources.

WFAA did reach out to the university, and a representative said the university is not involved and has no comment. 

The SMU Football program gained notoriety in the 1980s after investigations revealed under-the-table payments to players. Schoemann tells WFAA he is aware of that history and noted his long-time tenure in collegiate athletics working with institutions on compliance and infractions matters

"Hey, if we do this we have to do this as a true partner to the institution and be completely transparent because this institution has been fairly, at times, brought into that conversation about NCAA enforcement, and unfairly at times brought into something that happened a long time ago," he said.

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