The University of Southern California has at times seemed directionless in the NIL space. School faculty, student-athletes, and donors have long been at odds regarding the best way to handle the evolving college sports landscape. Luckily for all involved, a new player has entered the ring.
The TOMMY Group, which is only a week old at the time of writing, is already making waves in SoCal. The collective is seeking to be a difference-maker for USC student-athletes, led by several high-profile figures with USC ties, including Keyshawn Johnson. The collective’s mission is to “align the needs of aspiring athletes with the interest of brands and businesses looking to cement their presence within the collegiate sports realm.”
To celebrate the launch of the collective, a party was held at Delilah in West Hollywood on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Notably, the entire USC football team and staff were in attendance at the event. This is notable due to the lack of support previous collectives have been given by the university. A disclaimer on The TOMMY Group’s website makes clear that it does not represent USC or USC athletics.
Shortly after the launch of the new collective, it was reported by Ryan Kartje of The Los Angeles Times that the in-house NIL group known as BLVD was no more. BLVD was highly touted by the university as the next great NIL collective. However, BLVD was late to the game and it struggled to make up ground. Now, with another heavy hitter in town, BLVD goes to the wayside.
The TOMMY Group claims to have already worked with 80 USC student-athletes, including star QB Caleb Williams. The collective intends to offer student-athletes a range of opportunities including endorsement deals, commercial asset creation, marketing and public relations, original content, and public appearances.
Having an organized NIL collective is vital in the new college sports landscape. It seems that USC has finally softened its stance on the issue and is entrusting The TOMMY Group to set these student-athletes up for success.