As NIL opportunities begin to proliferate for Oklahoma football players, one thing distinguishes the newest one from the others.
It’s run by two former Sooner Academic All-Americans and All-Big 12 Conference players.
Dusty Dvoracek and Gabe Ikard are the driving force behind Strengthening Oklahoma, a new avenue for fans to give financial support and receive exclusive access to current OU football players.
At a recent photo shoot at Dvoracek’s home, Strengthening Oklahoma got the official seal of approval from The Man himself — Drake Stoops’ dad, aka Bob Stoops.
“(Drake) said, ‘Hey, I just want you to know that my dad is really happy that you guys are doing this and he’s really excited that I get to be a part of it,’ “ Dvoracek said. “And that just touched my heart. You know, I mean, the man that literally had as much impact on my life as anybody that there is, for him to have said that to Drake, and say it to me, that meant a lot.”
The Strengthening Oklahoma roster currently consists of 13 players: Billy Bowman, Ethan Downs, Jalil Farooq, Reggie Grimes, Key Lawrence, Marvin Mims, Jalen Redmond, Drake Stoops, Danny Stutsman, Woodi Washington, Theo Wease, Dashaun White and Brayden Willis.
It’s been in the works since February, and the website — StrengtheningOK.com — launches Monday.
“Gabe and I just felt that there wasn’t a whole lot of NIL space for Oklahoma,” Dvoracek said.
BoomCrew, powered by Atlanta NIL venture The Players’ Lounge, is one place fans can go to offer financial assistance to OU players while getting an interactive experience.
Another is the recently launched Norman NIL Club, which offers financial support for “80+ Oklahoma football players” and offers fans the chance to “join the ultimate fan experience.”
It may seem like there’s a competition happening for fans’ NIL attention, but several players are a part of all three ventures. Fans can choose how they want to support players, or if they have the means, can sign up for all three.
“I would say that, first and foremost, we want athletes to make every NIL dollar they can,” Ikard said. “That’s how we feel. As far is it being a competition. I don’t view it that way.”
In the case of Strengthening Oklahoma, various subscription tiers buy various levels of access to the players. Dvoracek and Ikard — both nationally renowned for their work on ESPN, SiriusXM Satellite Radio and locally, will conduct extended interviews with players, offer game analysis and more. Players will also autograph merchandise for raffle-style contests and even attend meet-and-greet events.</…….