Seminoles hot start leading to better NIL, fundraising support

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Rising Spear CEO Matthew Quigley laughed thinking about the impact a college football player had on his third-party NIL collective.

Georgian offensive tackle Amarius Mims, who entered the transfer portal in April, saw Florida State as his main alternate destination. The Seminoles welcomed the former five-star rookie on an official visit, but he ultimately decided to return to the Bulldogs.

This transfer recruitment lasted less than two weeks. Still, Rising Spear — which supports FSU athletics but isn’t affiliated with the university — still received one of its biggest waves of donations up to that point.

“It was pandemonium,” Quigley told the Democrat.

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Mims could not have directly collected these donations, at least not immediately. He would have had to join the Seminoles and sign an NIL deal with Rising Spear to be able to legally earn some of that money, per NCAA rules.

But what Mims showed was that just one player — including one who had never started a college game — could inspire FSU fans to empty their pockets. And it didn’t matter that the Seminoles hadn’t produced a winning season since 2017.

So imagine how even more eager they are to contribute now that the No. 23 FSU (4-0, 2-0 ACC) is off to its best start since 2015.

At least Quigley can already see a difference.

“We no longer have to sell the vision of (head) coach (Mike) Norvell and his team,” Quigley said.

“I get phone calls from all over the country. All the way to San Diego from a mortgage lender willing to help, donate and do what they can to support our student-athletes.

The more money Rising Spear receives, the more opportunities its contracted student-athletes will have to earn NIL. Quigley said Rising Spear has about 200 FSU student-athletes in 10 contracted sports, including nearly 70 football players.

Those opportunities quickly increased as the Seminoles continued to win. Reviewing the numbers since August, Quigley said Rising Spear saw a 224% jump in total trades received between FSU’s 24-23 win over LSU on Sept. 4 and earlier this week.

“There’s no better fundraiser than winning,” Quigley said.

With Rising Spear, student-athletes can benefit from NIL-related payments made through its Garnet Spirit donations or Gold Standard membership.

Garnet Spirit’s donations are one-time or recurring contributions. Rising Spear provides these payments to its student-athletes who perform charitable functions, such as appearances at the Boys and Girls Club of Big Bend.

Gold Standard membership involves business-related businesses. Student-athletes earn that money through merchandise signings, marketing deals and more.

To capitalize on its recent influx of donations, Rising Spear has scheduled more NIL events. More Boys and Girls Club appearances. More functions in middle school and primary.

“Since beating LSU, we’ve gained 120 new members (combined),” Quigley said. “We have had 600 transactions since that date. So that’s 120 new donors, plus our other donors who make one-off contributions, an additional contribution or who increase their current level of contribution.

“So it’s been great.”

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Seminole Boosters also benefit from Florida State’s 4-0 start

Stephen Ponder called it perfect timing.

The CEO of Seminole Boosters helped launch ‘The Bowden Society’ last Friday. The ambitious fundraising program recognizes people who pledge to donate $50,000 or more – payable over five years – to the athletic department.

These contributions help fund several undertakings related to the athletics program, including facility projects, scholarships and equipment. Ponder estimated that 250 people have engaged in a major giving campaign over the past five years.

FSU aspires to quadruple that total.

The Seminole football team starts hot numbers to only give them a better sales pitch.

“Since we launched the thing on Friday, we’ve had 10 people signing or verbally committing to a Bowden Society giveaway,” Ponder told the Democrat on Monday. “So people are like, ‘I want to participate. I want to do this.’ As I was walking through the stadium, people stopped me and said, “Hey, I want you to call me about the Bowden Society.”

“So yes, people feel good. Now I can’t specifically point to 4-0. But I’m not naive enough to think it doesn’t have an impact.

FSU’s other upcoming projects include building its new football operations facility and continuing to update Doak Campbell Stadium.

The football-only facility is still set to open in December and is expected to last 18 months. Ponder did not divulge any details about Doak’s upcoming updates. But he said more would be revealed later this fall.

The annual fund has already reached its goal of $16,500,000 this cycle, surpassing $17,000,000. Ponder estimated that the annual fund had 11,900 donors last year and is now at 12,250. FSU’s goal is to increase its number of annual fund donors to 13,500 by the end of the year. and possibly 25,000.

“We’ve seen people renew who hadn’t renewed,” Ponder said of the impact of the 4-0 start on the annual fund. “And we’ve seen others call and want to join. But I’ll tell you the biggest impact we’ll see in next year’s numbers versus this year’s numbers.

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FSU coach Mike Norvell wins fan support

FSU coach Mike Norvell has been thrilled all season with the support his team has received from his fanbase.

It started when thousands of students remained in the stands during a lightning 90-minute delay before the Seminoles’ season opener. It continued when FSU nearly split the crowd 50-50 in their game against LSU at the Superdome in New Orleans.

“There is great expectation and a great sense of pride in our program. I love it,” Norvell said. “It’s about the people. I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to be the head coach here.

“The good Lord brought me here for a reason, and every day we try to represent the program the way the program should be represented.”

Sold-out crowds are also becoming a routine again in Doak. The Seminoles announced Tuesday that their regular season finale against Florida — which is nearly two months away and on Black Friday — is already sold out.

FSU sold last Saturday’s game against Boston College, even though the Eagles are one of the worst teams in the ACC.

“Based on the past few years, history would tell you that we wouldn’t have sold that game (Boston College),” Ponder said. “But that’s a direct result of being 3-0 at the time and people wanting to watch the team. Because I think people resonate with Coach Norvell’s message about hard work.

“They see it and they love how this team represents Florida State and every single person. Because they identify with the hard work and team approach of our football team. I think it is important.

Editor’s Note: For more information on Rising Spear, visit risingspear.com or contact Quigley at 404-819-3032. Quigley gave the Democrat permission to include his phone number in this story.

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GAME INFORMATION

Who: FSU (4-0, 2-0 ACC) vs. Wake Forest (3-1, 0-1)

When or: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.; Doak Campbell Stadium

TV/Radio: ABC/94.9 FM.

Live Game Updates: www.Tallahassee.com; @CarterKarels on Twitter; @Ehsan_Kassim on Twitter; @JimHenryTALLY on Twitter; @jackgwilliams on Twitter

Contact Carter Karels at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @Carter Karels. You can also follow our coverage on Facebook (NoleSports) and Instagram (tlhnolesports).

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