“We Will” collective launches for Iowa State athletes

(From left to right) Iowa State seniors Mike Rose, Anthony Johnson Jr., Charlie Kolar, Jake Hummel and Chase Allen stand together after Iowa State’s 48-14 win over TCU on Nov. 26, 2021.

Matt Belinson

The first NIL collective for Iowa State athletes is officially here.

The “We Will” collective, a NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) collective organized by Iowa State boosters and former athletes and coaches, will serve as a means to retain Iowa State athletes that are encouraged to be community-minded with their NIL.

The site can be found here.

The collective is independent and not affiliated with Iowa State University.

Connor Greene, the director of the collective, said NIL has morphed past its original intent and has become almost legalized bidding wars for players. That’s not what he wants out of the “We Will” collective.

Greene, who played for Iowa State football from 2015 to 2019, said the process of creating the collective started in January and February.

“I want other schools to look at this and say this is how it’s supposed to be done,” Greene said. 

The “We Will” collective will help Iowa State athletes use their NIL to give back to charities. This is one of at least 46 NIL collectives at the Power Five level, according to the Business of College Sports.

The Des Moines Register reported Sunday former Iowa State football coach Dan McCarney is on the board of the collective.

Greene said along with McCarney, former Iowa State men’s basketball player Georges Niang is on the board. The board includes McCarney, Niang, Jason Loutsch, Ryan Harklau, Josh Rank and Greene.

“We Will” comes from the “I will” section of Jack Trice’s letter he wrote before Iowa State’s game at Minnesota in 1923, where he sustained severe injuries that eventually led to his death.

“We aren’t going to be interested in throwing money at people in the transfer portal and bring them here,” Greene said. “That’s not what this is.”

Green said for every dollar the collective gives to athletes, those funds will be tied to some charitable organization for the athlete to work with.

As of right now, the collective’s funds are only available to men’s basketball and football players. Greene said they fully intend to scale it up to all sports over time.

“With football and men’s basketball, that was just bare bones of, ‘hey, let’s get this going,'” Greene said. 

Greene said it’s easy to see the negative impact of NIL and where college athletics appears to be headed. But with “We Will,” Green said it’s about staying true to what he believes makes Iowa State special.

“Just because we’re adapting and evolving, that doesn’t mean we’re going to change who we are,” Greene said.