FAYETTEVILLE, ARK., January 26th, 2022
Athlete Advocate Consortium (AAC) founded to guide student-athletes in the NIL Era.
For the first time, student athletes across the country have the right to benefit from their own name, image and likeness (NIL). Since the NCAA announced changes to NIL policy in June of last year, there has been a whirlwind of activity with management companies and potential sponsors looking to engage NCAA athletes like Arkansas’ senior guard JD Notae.
These changes bring new opportunity as well as challenges for student-athletes. A new NIL organization looks to meet these challenges for college-athletes by “Assisting in the development of student athletes to achieve their maximum potential in all aspects of their college experience with a focus on their personal interactions in their community and civic responsibilities,” according to the group’s mission statement.
AAC was founded by Bryan and Mandy Hunt, son and daughter-in-law of JB and Johnelle Hunt, the entrepreneurs who founded JB Hunt Transportation Services. Since the NIL changes were announced in June of 2021, the couple have been at work to structure an organization that would operate in the best interests of the athletes while making a positive impact on the local community. They say their goal is to connect these future sports and business leaders with opportunities to use their abilities to help others, specifically in areas of community issues that speak to them on a person level.
According to Bryan Hunt, while most NIL programs to date focus solely on the monetization of the athlete and the companies engaging them, AAC will strive to create a structure that identifies needs within the community and develops processes and procedures to meet those needs.
“NIL policy has given college athletes the option to enter the business world, but with great power comes great responsibility,” said AAC Co-Founder Bryan Hunt. “AAC connects these college athletes with a local non-profit, not only to give back to a cause they care about but to also bring awareness to all of the good these organizations are doing to help our communities.”
Notae said this is what inspired him to be the first athlete to sign with AAC and has chosen to work with Samaritan Community Center, a Northwest Arkansas non-profit providing food and other resources to families living in need.
“Growing up in a family that struggled to put dinner on the table from time to time, this issue is close to my heart,” said Notae. “I’ve always felt like if I was ever in the position to help another family who needs a little help making sure their kids get good meals I would. AAC has given me the opportunity to put the spotlight on Samaritan Community Center so all the members of our community can see the good work they do and learn about ways they can help.”
Debbie Rambo, executive director of Samaritan Community Center, says Notae’s personal experience will help give voice to our call to action and raise awareness to the level of need.
“Many people across Northwest Arkansas are unaware of the extent poverty and hunger exist in our region,” said Rambo. “That’s why Samaritan Community Center is excited to partner with AAC and especially JD Notae. He is passionate about drawing attention to this issue, and community collaboration is so important to the efforts of helping at-risk families in our community thrive.”
According to Co-Founder Mandy Hunt, in addition to giving back to the community, AAC differs from player-management organizations by focusing on the athlete’s future in the long term.
“Our interest in these athletes is far greater than how many followers they currently have on social media,” said Mandy Hunt. “We care about their success long after they’ve played their final game wearing their team jersey.” We also look at players who haven’t always had it easy growing up, those who could use a support system to help them accelerate their journey off the court or playing field.”
About Athlete Advocate Consortium
AAC provides a full-time team to each of our partner athletes, a team dedicated to building the student-athlete’s image and helping them reach their full potential. The AAC team focuses on all facets of the student-athlete’s college career and most importantly, their future. In addition to giving the student-athlete an opportunity to give back and further accelerate his/her potential, we hope to show how one person can make a difference at their individual level, whether they are a star athlete or any member of our community. For more information, check out our website www.aac.net.
About Samaritan Community Center
Samaritan Community Center, a local nonprofit organization in Rogers and Springdale, serves the hurting and hungry of Northwest Arkansas with wraparound services. During 2021, the SCC provided 85,000 persons with emergency food assistance, served 90,000 meals, and distributed 200,000 snack packs to at-risk children through their nutritional programs. Their Samaritan Care program assisted over 1200 families with resource referrals, rent/utility assistance, and case management. Their charitable dental clinic provided over $500,000 in free dental care to uninsured, low-income adults. They operate two thrift stores in Rogers and Springdale which provide 33% of the operational support for the organization. For more information on Samaritan House, go to https://www.samcc.org