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Duke’s Innovative NIL Event Is This Weekend

And you know a lot of programs are going to be paying close attention

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 28 Duke at Georgia Tech
ATLANTA, GA JANUARY 28: Duke center Christian Reeves (21) dunks during the college basketball game between the Duke Blue Devils and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on January 28th, 2023 at Hank McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta, GA.
Photo by Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If you haven’t heard yet, Duke Basketball is doing an NIL event in Chicago this Saturday. Basically the idea is this: for $2,500, you can watch them scrimmage (sans at least Kyle Filipowski, if not others), hang out with former players, perhaps some celebrities and other notable people, meet the team, take pix and so forth.

Then it’s cocktail hour, presumably without most of the (underage) team, but we can’t imagine the school scheduling an event for fans to drink with players, so that’s probably out.

Finally, you get dinner and a Q&A with the team, other members of the Brotherhood and the staff.

We’re not 100 percent sure if that includes coach Jon Scheyer or not. He can’t participate in the scrimmage, but we can’t see any reason why he couldn’t go to dinner, but you know, the NCAA is kind of squirrely sometimes. But we’d hope so.

We don’t know how the revenue will be distributed. There are 12 scholarship players and three walk-ons, including Neil Begovich, a grad student transfer from Stanford.

With 50 tickets sold so far, that’s $125,000. As always, our math is questionable so don’t count on this being accurate, but by DBR math, split 12 ways that would be $10,416.66 apiece. If it were 15 ways, it’d be $8,333.33.

If you doubled the ticket sales, that’d be $250,000 and the splits would be $20,833.32/$16,666.67.

The whole question of walk-ons is kind of interesting, not least of all because of team chemistry. But think about this: if you have a handful of situations like this every year, the walk-ons could probably pay their own tuition.

But there are other questions too, for instance who pays expenses like air travel, hotels and local transportation?

And here’s another thought. Kentucky fans, feel free to forward this to Drake: If you had more money than sense and were so inclined, could you just set up essentially a command performance?

In other words, could Drake (or any booster/fan of any prominent program) just basically rent the team for a private performance/party?

That would make a really fun birthday party for a young Bezos or Musk, but give the NCAA something interesting to chew on.

Another interesting possibility, this time for Rachel Baker: Duke just puts whatever is allowed into 401K plans while players are at Duke, thus giving them a huge head start on retirement plans. Most people won’t be able to max out deposits as teenagers or in their early 20’s and with 40 years to build, a nice revenue stream now could become a huge nest egg in a few decades.