Syracuse Orange faces challenges, can compete on NIL in ACC – experts

Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports)
Syracuse basketball (Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) /
1 of 5

Syracuse Orange sports can compete on NIL in the Atlantic Coast Conference and on a national scale, but the ‘Cuse does face challenges and has work to be done, according to officials with a nonprofit collective supporting SU student-athletes as well as the founder of an organization that operates commercial collectives around the country.

Name, image and likeness initiatives related to the Syracuse Orange are a robust discussion point these days among ‘Cuse fans, after businessman and philanthropist Adam Weitsman recently said that he was getting out of the NIL game as it pertains to Syracuse Orange players.

Opinions vary among ‘Cuse fans I’ve interacted with on social media in the wake of that development as to whether Weitsman’s decision will be a huge blow to SU’s NIL efforts. Time will tell.

But officials I talked to for this article, while declining to comment on Weitsman specifically, did note that Syracuse University has a national brand, millions of fans worldwide, a substantial alumni base that includes wealthy individuals who could get into the NIL space through collectives, and a business base in the greater Central New York region that could be further tapped into as a significant NIL source.

“We can move forward in a positive way,” says Tony DeSorbo, co-founder of the 315 Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to support SU Athletics by matching Syracuse Orange student-athletes with charities.

Through the 315 Foundation, donors receive a tax deduction for their donations. SU players are compensated by promoting charitable causes, such as personal appearances and via their social media channels.

Syracuse Orange NIL’s programs can succeed, but they do face challenges, too.

Since the NCAA first approved its interim NIL policy in the summer of 2021, allowing student-athletes in all college sports to earn income from their names, images and likenesses, the Syracuse University athletics department has announced various initiatives centered on NIL for ‘Cuse players.

Additionally, the 315 Foundation and another entity supporting Syracuse Orange players, Athletes Who Care, are in operation, both structured as 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Might other collectives, or individuals like Weitsman doing NIL deals on their own, pop up in Central New York? That remains to be seen.