football Edit

Alliance 412 launches to facilitate NIL for Pitt student-athletes

As the era of Name, Image and Likeness opportunities moves toward its one-year anniversary, a group of Pitt supporters has mobilized to help the Panthers capitalize.

Founded by Pitt grad Chris Bickell, who donated $20 million to the Panthers’ football program last year, Alliance 412 was launched this spring to facilitate NIL opportunities for Pitt student-athletes across all sports.

“The mission of the alliance is to connect, create and care, to put it in a nutshell,” Alliance 412 chief creative officer Frances Reimers told Panther-Lair.com. “The collective was established to help connect Pitt student-athletes connect with business opportunities for NIL opportunities, but in addition, we have a creative arm, which is actually helping to execute these NIL opportunities if needed. So if the student-athlete needs creative assistance to fulfill the obligations of their NIL opportunities, we have those capabilities. On the other side, if a business is interested in developing NIL opportunities but doesn’t perhaps have the staff or the creative vision to decide how they would utilize a student-athlete, we’re there to assist.

“But the collective is also there to be an ambassador of the University of Pittsburgh and the city of Pittsburgh everywhere our team goes, but also helping these student-athletes being better at life skills and job readiness skills so that they go out into the world as an athlete or otherwise learning how to best represent themselves and the University of Pittsburgh.”

At this stage, Alliance 412 is led by Bickell, who serves as CEO; chief operating officer Jeff Goldberg; and Reimers, who leads a team of seven “writers, designers and videographers” on the creative side.

A Wyoming graduate, Reimers is no stranger to Pitt or the creative side of building brands for student-athletes. She is currently the head of marketing for Aaron Donald’s AD99 Solutions Foundation in addition to her own company, Firestarter, which has operated in the “brand space” for the last six years.

With Reimers’ expertise, Goldberg’s organizational skills and Bickell’s leadership and dedication to Pitt, Alliance 412 is positioned to serve a valuable function for Pitt student-athletes.

“University of Pittsburgh Athletics builds champions,” Bickell said in a released statement. “We at Alliance 412 are extending that culture by proving world-class NIL opportunities and creative for Pitt student-athletes.”

At the same time, the collective also has to operate within the parameters of NCAA rules. So while Alliance 412 is not formally affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh, there’s an inevitable cooperation that has to happen for the group to flourish.

“We’ve been in constant communication since Day One with Pat Bostick and the rest of the team there in the Athletic Department to ensure that what we say and how we act and how we engage with the student-athletes is compliant,” Reimers said. “And then also when opportunities and deals come in, I will be in touch with their compliance team to make sure that everything is accurately reported and any use of Pitt logos or colors or anything like that is compliant and in line with their brand standards.

“It’s going to be a constant ongoing conversation, and we’d really not have it any other way, because we want to make sure that we are helping student-athletes be successful on the field and in the classroom, and that requires not only being in constant communication with the student-athletes but also those around them. So administrators, coaches, everything, to make sure that we are on the same team and make sure that these NIL opportunities are not only successful for the student but successful for Pitt and the University of Pittsburgh as a whole.”

The collective is working to finalize details on a number of opportunities for Pitt student-athletes, the first announcement of a deal that was facilitated by Alliance 412 came on Friday.

Kancey’s work with the Northside Food Pantry is an example of how student-athletes can use NIL opportunities, and more Panthers are likely to pursue similar deals. Overall, Reimers thinks Alliance 412 will be able to facilitate all manner of opportunities.

“I really think that for Pitt alumni and businesses that support Pitt, this is a great opportunity for them to engage in ways they’ve never been able to before. I really hope people are as excited about it as we are.”