EUGENE, Ore. — Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight announced on Thursday the formation of a sport venture that will help University of Oregon student athletes looking to make money off their name, image, and likeness (NIL).
The move comes months after Gov. Kate Brown signed a bill into law allowing student athletes to sign contracts and earn money through endorsement deals, merchandizing agreements and appearance fees.
According to a press release, Division Street, Inc., will help student athletes earn money while also giving them more of an opportunity to focus on their school and sports. Well-known Oregon alumni and donors are involved in the company.
Former Nike Women Vice President and General Manager, Rosemary St. Clair, will serve as CEO.
“Division Street’s founding strength is the Oregon brand itself, which has always been about innovation, audacity and culture,” St. Clair said in the press release. “Our goal in this chaotic new world of NIL marketing is to elevate the athlete experience by bringing in leading expertise across brand, marketing, sponsorship, digital and creative to support all University of Oregon student-athletes, inclusive of every sport and across gender.”
Former Oregon women's basketball star Sabrina Ionescu will serve as chief athlete officer for the company.
“As an athlete navigating the world of brand and partnerships myself, I see a real opportunity to provide today’s college players more professional counsel as they grapple with the new NIL landscape,” Ionescu said. “I’m excited that Division Street also sees that need and is bringing together an all-star team to address this for Oregon. I’m also very passionate about ensuring diversity in gender and sport, and that will be part of my focus in this new role.”
The company will work closely with Adopt, a minority-owned brand and creative company focused on athletes and sport recently co-founded by Klutch Sports Group Founder and CEO Rich Paul.
Division Street will also collaborate with the University of Oregon’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center and School of Journalism and Communication. A student-led marketing and branding team that will focus on maximizing monetization of NIL for Oregon student athletes.