July 1, 2021, marked a seismic legislation shift that changed the game.
Intercollegiate athletes are now permitted under Florida law to earn compensation for the use of their name, image, and likeness (often referred to as NIL). Former Florida baseball player Eddie Rojas saw this as a huge opportunity for Gator fans to level the playing field when it came to opportunities available for both current and future Gator athletes. Determined to get ahead of rival schools, Eddie put together a team of Gator fans and Alumni to help build the Gator Collective.
Eddie Rojas and his wife, Kelli, provided the initial capital contribution to get Gator Collective up and running. Fort Lauderdale-based lawyer Darren Heitner, who specializes in sports-related law, was retained to provide legal counsel and ensure that all operations comply with NIL law. Countless pro bono hours were put in by the team behind the scenes to prepare the Collective for launch, and on September 2, 2021, Gator Collective officially lifted off the ground.
Not long after launching, Zach Carter, a defensive lineman on the 2021 football team, became the first athlete to sign with us. Since then, our list of athletes has grown into the 80s across nine sports, and over 2,500 Gator fans have signed up to support their favorite players. We look forward to continuing to grow both those numbers and continuing to increase the continuously-growing impact the fans and athletes have on each other.