Investing in the next “Rudy”

How the CEO of Built Bar made a splash NIL deal with BYU Football

The Qualifier is a weekly newsletter that breaks down the business and media of sports.

For daily stories, insights and reactions follow me over on Twitter @vincenzolandino

Good morning Qualifiers,

At this point you’ve probably seen the headlines:

BYU just used NIL, Utah-based Built Bar to put every football player on scholarship

And you may or may not have seen this awesome video:

Yea, Built Bar did that.

36 walk-ones received a full year of tuition paid, plus $1000. And for the rest of the 123 players on the team, they also received $1000.

While other brands were busy signing the 5-star athletes with already fairly prominent personal brands, Nick Greer, CEO of Built Bar, had a different approach altogether, inspired by a movie and real life friend — Rudy Ruettiger.

I had the chance to sit down with Mr. Greer to talk about what drove him to do this. I’ll say, he is one passionate man and although you can’t hear his voice, he sounds like a football coach — motivating, inspiring and goal oriented.

Here’s a summarization of my conversation with Mr. Greer:

On jumping into NIL

What stood out to me was the Mr. Greer immediately recognized that the majority of NIL deals would be done with the 1% of athletes. He likened the disparity in college sports earning potential to the real world, therefore saying that in the game of life “we’re all walk-ons”.

Everyone has a neighbor, friend, family member, or even they themselves that’s out there fighting to prove something, grinding out day by day in life but don’t get recognition or financial gain.

On why it was all walk-ons, not just one:

This was his most straightforward answer: “walk-ons are underdogs. Underdogs are one and they need to stick together. You can’t root for one underdog and not want them all to succeed.”

On what “walk-ons” mean to him:

The man is friends with the real life Rudy Ruettiger, the man that inspired the epic sports movie, Rudy.

To Mr. Greer, the idea of the walk-on is that of a long-tail journey, not necessarily something with immediate benefits.

“You take Rudy for example. Here’s this kid, 5’6” 160lbs with literally nothing but a dream. However, he’s got the grit, desire and self-assurance that he will make this team. And he did. 20 years later, it turns into a movie and the underdog captures the hearts of millions more. That’s the beauty of rooting for and investing in the underdog.”

Some of his thoughts on the ROI of underdogs:

It’s a situation of rising tides raising all ships.

“Our investment in others is the return for us. As humans, we need to do more investing in other humans the same way we invest in stocks and businesses. Let’s root for people”

Mr. Greer left me with a few questions he feels we should all ask ourselves:

How can I make a difference with my individual actions?

What can I do to help others? Root for others? Invest in others?

He added that when you ask yourself these questions, and fully open yourself to the idea of putting people first, you’ll be amazed at what transpires.

The Qualifier is a weekly newsletter that breaks down the business and media of sports.

For daily stories, insights and reactions follow me over on Twitter @vincenzolandino