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CEO of Utah-based Built Bars explains why NIL deal with BYU was only beginning

HBO reporter Jon Frankel with BYU booster and entrepreneur Nick Greer on campus in Provo for en episode of Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. (Courtesy: HBO )

Estimated read time: 3-4 minutes

PROVO — Nick Greer didn't just start out trying to change the BYU football program.

The CEO of the American Fork-based Built Brands turned the world of college athletics and name, image and likeness upside down when Greer offered to pay the tuition of every BYU football walk-on this summer. But that was just the beginning, Greer explained during a lengthy interview for the October episode of HBO's "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" that aired Tuesday night.

As much as Greer loves BYU, the CEO of the multi-million dollar franchise also loves to win — in football and in business. That's why he doesn't plan on stopping with the Cougars.

Some have called BYU's deal with Built a "competitive advantage," essentially eliminating scholarship limits for at least one football program over another. Greer hopes it isn't that way for long in the ever-changing wild, wild west of NIL, and even has hopes of expanding the market to other college programs.

"We want to fuel every entire college athletic team in the United States, right now," Greer told HBO. "When they eat our bars, eat our products, eat everything that we create, they're like 'how would I go a day without it?'"

The report, which was conducted by Jon Frankel and produced by Nick Dolin, highlighted the "seismic rule change to hit college sports" following the Supreme Court's challenge to college athletics' previous ban on athlete compensation for promoting companies, brands, causes and products in traditional and social media.

"There really are not a lot of rules here in the various states, and that's one of the problems right now," Frankel said. "They sort of just opened up the gates to this and let everybody play free right now. If you had to characterize it, it could be called a win-win by some, because still the athletes are not getting their hands on any of the big money that the NCAA has gotten through revenues of ticket sales, TV licensing and sponsorships. They basically said to the athletes, 'Go ahead; if you can use your name, image and likeness and make some money, go to it.'"

It featured the likes of Fresno State women's basketball sensations Haley and Hanna Cavinder, the twins who have a collective 3.7 million followers on their shared TikTok account and have already inked deals with Boost Mobile, Bulletproof Coffee and GoPuff that is estimated to be worth seven figures. The report also featured Georgia quarterback JT Daniels, who's national deal with restaurant chain Zaxby's that pays him north of $500 per month, and Clemson quarterback DJ Uiagalelei, who first rose to fame with a national deal with Dr. Pepper.

"It's thousands and thousands of athletes," said Dan Everett, Daniels' marketing agent. "It's going to turn into a billion-dollar industry quickly."

But the biggest turn was in Provo, where HBO filmed Greer during the Cougars' football game against Boise State at LaVell Edwards Stadium.

"College sports, for me and I think for so many people, is about the team," said Greer after HBO filmed him handing out checks for up to $12,000 intended for tuition to each of BYU's 36 walk-on players.

BYU athletes have since signed dozens of other deals with a variety of other programs, and at least one — Provo-based SmartyStreets — has inked every female athlete at BYU to a deal worth up to $6,000 to promote their product on social media and appear in company events. Other companies have followed, and Greer is happy to see it.

The Built CEO doesn't want exclusive rights to NIL deals. He wants to spark change across the country.

"If you raise the game of the walk-on, you're going to raise the game of everyone else around them," Greer said. "We can go make them better team members, better providers, better leaders. That's what this is about."

You can watch the whole episode of "Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel" on HBO and HBO Max.

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