Michigan State University men's basketball and football players — numbering 133 total this academic year — will receive a monthly, year-round stipend funded by United Wholesale Mortgage, a wholesale mortgage lender led by former MSU basketball walk-on Mat Ishbia.
As reported by the Detroit Free Press, the company made the announcement Wednesday with a media release.
Each student-athlete will be paid $500 per month through funds provided by Ishbia and UWM. Ishbia donated a record $32 million to MSU athletics in February, but the stipends are a "separate" effort, according to the release.
As the Free Press points out, most compensation deals have been made by and for individuals, once NCAA rules changed this summer to allow athletes to profit from the use of name, image and likeness. However, MSU joins a growing list of cases in which groups of athletes have collectively benefited. A Utah company pledged to cover tuition for all walk-on players at Brigham Young University, and a Wisconsin restaurant chain has enlisted the Badgers offensive line in barbecue promotion. The MSU deal also appears to rival one of the largest NIL deals to date, in which a Miami gym owner offered $500 stipends to the entire University of Miami football roster.
“The Spartan family sticks together, and that’s what makes MSU athletics so special,” Ishbia, a member of Tom Izzo's 2000 National Championship team, said in Wednesday's statement. “Each player contributes to the team in a positive way and we’re excited to help support them, while also helping educate consumers about the benefits of independent mortgage brokers.”
“I was a star athlete and having access to resources like this would have made a huge difference in my career in a very positive way,” added former teammate Matteen Cleaves, one of three former Spartans that United Wholesale Mortgage has employed. “What UWM is doing for these Spartan athletes is unprecedented, and aligns closely with what Coach Izzo and MSU taught us, which is to always take care of our family.”