Say hello to Florida Victorious, UF's new leading NIL entity

Ainslie Lee
The Gainesville Sun

When it comes to the Name, Image and Likeness landscape in Gainesville, as of Tuesday, there's a new sheriff in town.

Florida Victorious launched what it's calling itself the "lead NIL entity of Gator Nation" Tuesday. It will work closely with the University Athletic Association while having the full support of the University of Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin, as well as coaches around campus.

“Florida Victorious provides valuable NIL opportunities for our student-athletes thanks to fans who support Gator athletics,” said Stricklin in a release. “There are a number of pillars that are key for success – facilities, academics, conference affiliation, geography and coaches. NIL is also a critical pillar, and we must excel in all of these areas for the Gators to be successful today and in the future.” 

Florida Victorious is likely to rival the Gator Collective, which has been UF's main NIL entity since January 2022.

However, Gator Collective was responsible for 5-star quarterback recruit Jaden Rashada's crumbling contract earlier this year. Rashada was reportedly promised a NIL deal valued at more than $13 million by the Gator Collective, but the deal fell apart, leading to Rashada requesting out of his signed letter of intent. Rashada went on to enroll at Arizona State, leaving the ruins of the botched NIL deal in Gainesville.

Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier shares a laugh with Florida Athletic Director Scott Stricklin on the field during Gator Walk at Steve Spurrier Field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, FL on Saturday, September 17, 2022. [Cyndi Chambers/Gainesville Sun]

Expectations vs. reality:When it comes to NIL reality check, look at Florida gymnasts, not LSU's Olivia Dunne

NIL evolves:DeSantis signs bill with Norvell, Napier present to help Florida college athletes with NIL

Recruiting tool:Gators unveil latest high-tech weapon in the war to win hearts and minds of recruits | Whitley

Florida Victorious' press release mentions it will welcome members of the Gator Collective, which is dissolving.

Florida Victorious was founded by Jose Costa, who got his bachelor's degree from UF's College of Agriculture before getting his M.B.A. from the University of Miami. For the last 25 years, Costa has owned and operated the world's largest ornamental plant supplier, Costa Farms, while also founding Fourshore Capital, a real estate investment firm.

“Gator Nation wants to win, and in today’s environment, having a top NIL program is a key factor,” Costa said in a release. “Florida Victorious is all about strengthening Gator athletics by creating an exclusive community where our members and donors will have insider access to student-athletes as they engage in fan experiences, conduct service work and raise awareness for charities in the Gainesville community, and excel in their sports.” 

Service work at the center of Florida Victorious' mission

The focus of Florida Victorious is to positively impact the university community, which is something the non-profit Florida Achievement Support Trust (FAST) set out to do since its inception in June 2022.

Florida Victorious will serve as an extension of FAST, which has worked behind the scenes to support 84 UF student-athletes on the Gators' football and softball teams. FAST partnered with local non-profits such as The Habitat for Humanity of Alachua County, the Ronald McDonald House of North Central Florida, The St. Francis House and The Bread of the Mighty Food Bank.  

Keeping service work at the center of its mission, Florida Victorious will continue the efforts of FAST, while expanding to other sports on campus and partnering with other Gainesville-area non-profits.

Florida Victorious by the numbers

Florida Victorious is set to be backed by membership dues from UF fans, who will have a number of different options.

“Gator fans and alumni are truly part of our team,” said head football coach Billy Napier. “Their support of Florida Victorious allows us to be competitive in the NIL space and do it better than anyone in the country. We intend to continue teaching life lessons in college athletics, and this structure will create experiences for the players that will shape their character and values.”  

Membership options are set to range from $15 to $250 per month with 90% of revenues returning to the pockets of Florida's student-athletes.

Those who join Florida Victorious will receive benefits that include exclusive content, unique memorabilia and merchandise, as well as one-of-a-kind experiences and events.

Star-studded advisory board highlights the new NIL entity

Florida Victorious knew how to get the support of UF fans − get the backing of those who fans already support.

Former Florida Gators quarterback and potential top 10 NFL Draft pick Anthony Richardson is among those set to serve on the organization's advisory board. Former basketball and football standouts Patric Young and Trey Burton are also set to be advisory board members.

Florida's national championship and Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Danny Wuerffel was a late addition to the board but has also joined forces with Florida Victorious.

But the list doesn't end there.

Other advisory board members include UF alumna and sports broadcast personality Laura Rutledge, as well as longtime Gators donor Hugh Hathcock, who spotted $12.6 million to Gator Boosters in 2022. Gary Condron, who is the largest donor in UF athletics history and the namesake of Florida's baseball stadium, will also serve on the board.

"Our advisory board plays a pretty large role in this. We rely on them to provide great advice and to help us navigate this changing landscape with their variety of experiences and backgrounds," said Nate Barbera, CEO of Florida Victorious. "We also rely on them to help us raise awareness. Some of these folks are very well-known Gators who can really help make a difference for us."

"Advisory board members will serve as ambassadors to Gator Nation and work with Florida Victorious leadership to help drive its success," Florida Victorious explained in a press release.