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Amherst’s Jack Betts is Rewriting the NIL Playbook

Amherst College wide receiver Jack Betts is gaining more deals than yards while he builds an NIL education network.

You’ve probably never heard of Jack Betts.

The Amherst wide receiver will play his first football game of 2022 on Saturday — weeks after FBS schools started play — with minimal fanfare, no TV, and maybe 1,000 fans in attendance.

Yet Betts has become one of the most prolific athletes in the NIL landscape, accruing 37 deals this year alone. He also has just one career reception. The senior is focused on a proactive approach to brand partnerships and is sharing that with student-athletes from Texas A&M to Tufts.

“I remember exactly where I was on July 1, 2021 when NIL officially launched,” Betts told Boardroom. “I had a bunch of local brands and businesses already in mind [to partner with] but then the reality set in that I’m a Division III athlete and the likelihood of even getting one deal was close to zero.”

An Entrepreneurial Spirit

When Betts observed the landscape, he saw big-money deals for star Division I athletes in football and basketball. He thought that these partnerships were all NIL was — that athletes at his level had no shot at the action.

After a 5-4 season for the Mammoths in 2021, Betts started 2022 with a refreshed outlook on NIL. It all stemmed from one in-bound Instagram direct message via LifeStyle Bands. They were interested in the wideout for their NIL program.

He consulted his parents — both Dallas-based lawyers — about the partnership and if it made sense to explore other deals.

“I was looking for an ‘in’ with NIL,” he said. “And I thought to myself, ‘one deal would be pretty cool, but what if I could proactively explore other opportunities as well?’”

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Betts knew that with his private Instagram account of around 2,000 followers at the time and minimal on-field stats, he had to position himself to brands in a unique way.

“An entrepreneurial spirit inhabited my body,” Betts said.

The English major then began to build an NIL-specific resume, logo, website, cover letter and email pitch that he has reworked close to 30 times now.

Then he started reaching out to brands that might be a fit.

“I looked around my dorm room and made note of the brands and products that I use on a daily basis and started to target those types of companies,” Betts said. “I knew that my reputation at a school like Amherst didn’t precede me like an Ohio State or a Miami, so I had to sell myself as an entrepreneur versus just an athlete.”

As Betts explored the NIL deal process, he searched for other athletes to learn from but couldn’t find any across D-III. He saw what “NIL King” Norfolk State running back Rayquan Smith was building (over 70 NIL deals to date) and connected with him on social media. The duo formed a fast friendship, bonding over building personal brands and leaving a legacy beyond the football field.

Betts’ unique NIL pitch — which he likens to applying for a job versus just the perfunctory DM to a brand inquiring about a potential partnership — evolved into 20-plus emails per day. Although the majority of Betts’ deal flow came from independent outreach, he supplemented it by using multiple NIL marketplace platforms, such as Opendorse, MOGL, Lockerroom, Icon Source and Postgame.

From Fanatics to GOAT Fuel and Omaha Steaks to AllBirds, national brands started to take notice.

“You don’t often see a D-III athlete with a shoe deal, right?” Betts added.

Making MYOLA

With his consistent and professional approach, one deal turned into five, then 10, and 20 in a matter of months. When Betts hit 30 NIL deals — and with countless student-athletes nationwide reaching out to him for advice — he paused his proactive outreach to reflect on a potentially larger impact. He thought back to the mentorship that Smith provided him months earlier.

“What if I could create a centralized formal approach where I could help athletes fully realize their potential in the NIL world?” Betts wondered. “That is how the Make Your Own Legacy Academy (MYOLA) was born.”

Proud of his Cherokee heritage, Betts’ initial educational model focused on supporting Native American student-athletes, who he felt were underserved across all levels of athletics. He partnered with NDNSports.com, the “ESPN for everything indigenous athletics,” per Betts, but quickly decided that he wanted to expand and offer his services to all student-athletes who needed NIL support.

With a curriculum in place, resume and cover letter templates crafted, and one-on-one sessions booked, Betts was ready to launch the inaugural class of his Make Your Own Legacy Academy.

Spanning every sport and level, Betts partnered with 21 athletes (his jersey number) to kick off his NIL education platform. That first class includes University of Washington softball player SilentRain Espinoza (the perfect name for Seattle-based NIL deals), Texas A&M pole vaulter Landon Helms, UMass running back Ellis Merriweather, and even Amherst rival and Tufts kicker Vaughn Seelicke, who Betts will face on Oct. 22.

The Make Your Own Legacy Academy Inaugural Class:

  • Brad Cagle: Southwestern College football
  • Brandon Young: Husson University football
  • Colin Meropolous: Endicott, football
  • Danny Coale: University of Pennsylvania football
  • Dante Aviles-Santos: UMass Dartmouth football
  • Destiny Jenkins: Prairie View A&M basketball
  • Ellis Merriweather: UMass football
  • Field Gatlin: Texas Tech track and field
  • Jade Warrington: Missouri Valley College track and field
  • Jaiheem Henderson: Stevenson University football
  • Jolie Fish: UT Tyler softball
  • Kaylin Bearpaw: Tulsa University softball
  • Landon Helms: Texas A&M track and field
  • Max Cole: Alvernia University hockey
  • Rianna Taylor: Missouri Valley College track and field
  • SilentRain Espinoza: University of Washington softball
  • Teddy Schoenfeld: MIT baseball
  • Tyrek Mann: Husson University football
  • Vaughn Seelicke: Tufts University football
  • Wil Wood: Millsaps College baseball
  • Zach Ludemann: Salve Regina football

“The dynamic of all of these athletes – seeing what they each uniquely bring to the table and the diversity of their NIL experience thus far – allows us to brainstorm new ways to activate and build their personal portfolios,” Betts explained.

In addition to the curriculum and outreach templates, Betts provides brand introductions to his MYOLA partners and if interested, connects them to NIL marketplace platform MOGL, where he is an athlete ambassador.

“I try to empower the student-athletes I speak to that if you keep looking side to side, like I did in the Summer of 2021, with all of those big NIL deals for DI athletes, you are not going to see the end goal,” Betts said. “You will lose focus on the unique opportunity you have to build your portfolio the way you want to.”

As Betts begins his senior season, he hopes his production on the field will match his portfolio off of it. Regardless, he understands the value of what he’s building with MYOLA. He’s in the process of curating the second class of student-athletes that he hopes to announce after the season.

“Year 1 of NIL was all about these big money and product deals to Power 5 athletes,” Betts said. “The work that I’ve been trying to do individually and with the MYOLA is all about making year two of NIL the year of the small market success story.”

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