Empower The Nest - A Collective Supporting NIL For Illinois State University Student-Athletes

Learn How You Can Get Involved And Receive Priceless Opportunities Exclusively For Members

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Frequently Asked Questions

What Is NIL?

NIL stands for Name, Image and Likeness. Student-athletes are now permitted to earn income from the use of their NIL assets. Examples of how a student-athlete can earn income includes, but is not limited to, personal endorsements, appearances, autographs, inclusion of their NIL on physical merchandise or digital content, participation in special events, experiences and promotions.

What Is A Collective?

Collectives can contract and pay current student-athletes and receive in consideration for that payment, a set of exclusive NIL assets from the student-athlete. The Collective can then sell the “active” and “passive” use of a player's NIL assets (which were acquired under this contract) to businesses or individuals.

An “active” NIL asset requires an action from the student-athlete. For example, a student-athlete signing an autograph or making a personal appearance. A “passive” NIL asset does not require an additional action from the student-athlete. For example, printing a player’s name on a jersey or using a photo (image/likeness) of an athlete on a player card or NFT.

What NIL Cannot Be

Student-athletes cannot receive “pay for play” and NIL payments cannot be used to induce prospects. Payments cannot be gifts and therefore, all payments must have a related “value exchange” between the buyer and the seller (student-athlete).

What Is The Relationship With Illinois State University?

Empower The Nest does not have any official relationship with Illinois State University. The University and its employees are prohibited from making or facilitating any NIL deals or payments to student-athletes.

How Can The Illinois State University Business Community Participate?

Businesses are permitted to purchase the NIL assets of student-athletes to promote their businesses products and services, including but not limited to personal appearances, social media promotion, inclusion in commercials, the creation of specialized video content and more.

How Can The Illinois State Community Of Individual Supporters Participate?

Individual supporters can write checks or place their credit card on file to become “Insider Members” of the Collective and receive a set of benefits created from the NIL assets owned by the Collective. This includes exclusive access to member-only benefits such as livestreams, autograph sessions, personal meet and greets, and more. Individual supporters who become Insider Members can also purchase memorabilia (physical & digital) from the private marketplace that can only be accessed by logging into the Empower The Nest website.

Mission Statement:

Empower the Nest, Inc. is organized exclusively to enable and empower Illinois State University student-athletes to make a difference in their community by contributing their time and effort to non-profit entities that operate in their community.  Notwithstanding the foregoing, however, the NIL Collaborative is organized exclusively for charitable, religious, educational and scientific purposes; including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under Section 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended, or corresponding provisions of any later federal tax laws.


Empower The Nest is a name, image and likeness (NIL) collective comprised of business owners, alumni and supporters of Illinois State Athletics. Empower The Nest is committed to empowering Redbird student-athletes in the name, image and likeness space by curating relationships between student-athletes and the business community. Dollars raised by Empower The Nest will be combined and distributed in exchange for services provided by student-athletes contracted to the collective.

Redbird student-athlete services include but are not limited to public appearances, meet and greets, autograph sessions, sport camps, merchandise lines, social media campaigns, and much more. Additionally, members of the Empower The Nest collective will utilize their professional networks to provide name, image and likeness opportunities to Redbird student-athletes to empower them on and off their field of play.