Turlock High alum Anthony Frias II has only been a member of the Kansas State football program for a handful of months, but his presence in Manhattan, KS is already helping his team make waves across the national college football landscape.
On Friday, Frias and his Wildcats teammate officially launched the Manhattan NIL Club (MNC), which is fan club aimed at providing members with exclusive access to the team and team events, all while getting student-athletes paid.
NIL stands for Name, Image & Likeness, which is a collegiate athletics policy that allows student-athletes the ability to make money by promoting products and services, creating their own business, hosting paid events and selling memorabilia.
Frias explained that MNC is a branch of tech company YOKE, which focusses on ways schools can cash in on NIL benefits. Notre Dame, Michigan State and the University of Iowa are already using the YOKE system, with Kansas State being the latest Power 5 program to launch their own NIL initiative with the company.
“YOKE brought this presentation to us and we really liked it. I think one of the biggest reasons why as a team were hooked on it is because no matter who the player is, we're all getting paid the same. It's a team, not an individual NIL deal,” Frias explained.
In the initial meeting with YOKE, only a handful of players with the largest online presences from the 122-man roster were invited to attend, with Frias being one of them. Much of Frias’ current online following comes from Turlock, as he helped the Bulldogs earn back-to-back, undefeated Central California Athletic League titles. Now a Wildcat, Frias is looking to help build the KSU program in a similar way.
The MNC initiative offers the public 1,000 “Access Passes,” which allows buyers to chat with other fans, players and have access to exclusive livestreams, vlogs and in-person events like tailgates and memorabilia signings. All proceeds from the MNC Access Passes are split evenly between participating KSU players, Frias explained that most of the 122-man roster is participating.
Frias has described himself as being incredibly hands-on with the project. He said NIL has been a learning process, but everything has gone smoothly thus far. Part of his ability to adjust has come in part to his associate’s degree in business, which he received at Modesto Junior College. Now focusing on psychology at KSU, he is thankful that he has kept his options within academia open, especially now as he continues to navigate the world of NIL.
Since the launch of the Manhattan NIL Club on Friday morning, there have already been over 400 Access Passes purchased.
“It’s been great so far,” Frias said. “We’ve already had a ton of fans active with the chat and engaging with players. I’ve sent a couple messages out myself too.”
While there are in-person events that would require members to be in Manhattan, KS to attend, Frias explained that those in small communities around the country are already jumping board the MNC to keep up with players from their towns. Turlock is not an exception.
“This is such a unique initiative that helps all the players on our roster directly,” Frias said. “There’s all kinds of content to watch and for fans to keep up with, no matter where you are.”
Frias also added that the launch has coincided well with the leadup to the 2022 season kickoff.
“The entire city is buzzing. Everybody is just so excited for the season to start, it’s pretty hectic, but in a good way,” he joked.
While Frias is already making a name for himself in Manhattan off the field, he realizes that his performance on the field is still the priority.
“Yeah I’ll be getting a share of the NIL money, and it’ll definitely help all of us college students, but that real success and big independent NIL money won’t come until we prove ourselves on the field,” he said. “Even then, the NIL money doesn’t compare to making it to the league (NFL), so it’s just added excitement and motivation.”
For more information on the Manhattan NIL Club or to join the club by buying an Access Pass, head to www.manhattannilclub.com.