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Name, Image, & Likeness With Oklahoma State's Gundy

Guest Mike Gundy, Oklahoma State; Jim Cavale, INFLCR
08:11 min watch


Oklahoma State Head Football Coach Mike Gundy sits down with INFLCR Founder & CEO Jim Cavale to discuss why the Cowboys are adding INFLCR’s NIL Suite, principles for social media, how social media and NIL impact recruiting and more.


The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic). There’s also a full transcription at the bottom if you’d prefer to read to the discussion.

  • - What led you to not just partner with with INFLCR, but add the NIL Suite?
  • - What are the principles you try to instill in your student-athletes with regards to social media?
  • - How has social media changed the way you recruit?
  • - How do you leverage the Oklahoma State Cowboys brand and NIL to win in this new era?
  • - How do you plan to communicate the branding and brand-building that you’re gonna be able to offer student-athletes who choose to play for Oklahoma State football?
  • - How do you empower your student-athletes, knowing that we still have much to learn when it comes to what the regulations are?

Full Transcript


Jim Cavale: The family here at INFLCR is continuously excited to see more and more of our partners step up and take advantage of our new NIL Suite. The most recent example of this is Oklahoma State Athletics. OSU is not only a department-wide, five-year partner of INFLCR, but they’ve also added our NIL Suite for multiple sports, including football. And today, we’re going to be joined by head football coach Mike Gundy to talk about this innovative investment he’s made for his football program and their future.


Alright Coach, thanks so much for joining us, and I’ve gotta say, your program, the way you’re looking at the brand of Oklahoma State and how your student-athletes can benefit from playing on the stage that is OSU is really, really forward-thinking. And we’re so excited to be partnered with you, so, let’s start off with, why this investment not only into INFLCR’s core platform, but our NIL Suite?


Coach Mike Gundy: Well INFLCR is at the top of their game, and it’s for the betterment and marketing ability of our student-athletes. That’s the future. That’s the direction that everybody’s going, and we choose INFLCR because we think they’re the best.


Cavale: Awesome Coach. So, next thing I want to talk about is just your philosophy on social. At the end of the day, just like you want your student-athletes to have a certain discipline and work ethic in the weight room, or how they play on the field, or of course academics, you have core principles in social media you want them to adhere to. So just talk about that and how you really preach social media to your student-athletes.


Gundy: Well we’re counting on INFLCR with the principles. It’s changing daily, and that’s why we wanted to be out front in choosing INFLCR to develop some core principles. We’ve had certain principles over the years, but we’re seeing them change as social media continues to grow, so we’re looking forward to implementing our principles as we move forward.


Cavale: And when you look at recruiting, social media has completely changed the way it all goes down. I know we look at the audiences of our 30,000+ student-athlete users on the INFLCR app, and more than 25% are high school athletes trying to see the programs of these college teams through the eyes of student-athletes. And so, it’s all changed, recruiting. How your coaches can communicate through social media as well is a big priority for recruiting. How, as you look at social media, being in the head coaching game in big time college football for so long, how has social media really changed the way you recruit?


Gundy: In a big way. Social media, it’s been huge with graphics, videos, virtual tours. It’s an opportunity for us to show all the great things we have here at Oklahoma State University and Oklahoma State football, what our Cowboy culture is like, and it gives us a chance to track student-athletes that we’re recruiting so we can gather more information on those players. Recruiting is a two-way street: we’re recruiting them, and they’re recruiting us. So, information is very important during this process.


Cavale: So that’s recruiting, but there’s the recruits that you’re actually communicating with, and NIL has had a big impact on them. Whether it’s the soon-to-be senior class that will arrive in the fall of 2021 when NIL begins officially, or these junior and sophomore classes, all of these student-athletes are going to have a new reality that’s a part of their college football experience. And the Cowboy brand is a huge brand in college football! So how do you leverage the Oklahoma State Cowboys brand and NIL to win in this new era?


Gundy: Well for us, it’s a great opportunity through INFLCR to sell the Cowboy culture, what we’ve developed here. We’ve been a leader in the Big 12 Conference in academics, we’ve been to 15 straight bowl games in a row, we’ve been in the top 20 in the country, top 10 in the country…the list goes on and on here at Oklahoma State. But with INFLCR, in this new era, it gives us an opportunity to sell what’s most important here at Oklahoma State, which is the people. The everyday contact with the student-athletes in all the different areas that we offer here at Oklahoma State with professional development, academics, strength conditioning, coaching, football: all the different areas that we develop student-athletes over the years, our Cowboy culture is second to none. This gives us an opportunity to show it off to the country.


Cavale: Alright Coach, so really this comes down to branding. And, you have a branding operation that’s been going on at Oklahoma State for a while. You have some of the best photographers and videographers producing great content around the Cowboy brand. And so now, in recruiting, like we’ve been talking about, this is going to become a category of an arms race in addition to facilities, and academics, and athletics, that you’re gonna compete in as a program. And so talk about how you plan to communicate the branding and brand-building that you’re gonna be able to offer some of the best student-athletes who choose to come play for Oklahoma State football.


Gundy: Again, I think that by us choosing INFLCR, it allows us to be out front in recruiting. Oklahoma State, during my sixteen years here as the head coach, has always been out front with ideas in different areas. In recruiting, in our style of football, fast-paced, aggressive, many different areas where we’ve been able to pursue and get young men to come to Oklahoma State football for all the right reasons. And now, with the opportunity to be out front and to sell our product, all the things that have been special here over sixteen years is going to be very important. This generation of young people, as we know, they live on social media, they live with their phones. And with INFLCR, and the new rules that’ll be coming out, this gives us an opportunity to continue to be out front in recruiting and selling our name and selling our brand here at Oklahoma State.


Cavale: You know what I love about this Coach is, you have the humility to know that you’re not an expert on social media, but it’s a new language that you’ve had to learn, your coaching staff has had to learn, because it’s a language that your student-athletes and recruits speak. And you began to learn it in a way that’s brought in partnerships like ours, but you’ve also done things to help your student-athletes be great with this language in representing themselves and the program. And so as you look at NIL, there’s a lot of clarity that we still need, all of us, in regard to what the final regulations and rules will be. How do you empower your student-athletes, knowing that we still have much to learn when it comes to what the regulations are?


Gundy: I think we’re all going to go through a learning process. And again I’ve said this a number of times, but that’s why we have INFLCR. Our coaching staff, our recruiting staff, the university in general, our athletic department: we’re learning on the run. This is gonna be uncharted waters for all of us. We want to be out front though. We want to be in a competitive arena. We want people to understand that we’re gonna do whatever it takes to get the best and the most quality young men in our organization, athletically and academically. And, I’m not sure that anybody knows right now exactly which direction all of this is going to go. I think there’s still legislation out there that’s making decisions on how we handle some of the details. But we’re looking forward to our partnership with INFLCR to make sure they keep us up to date on all the latest, so we have the opportunity to recruit every young man in the country that we’d like to recruit to be a part of the Cowboy culture here at Oklahoma State.


Cavale: Coach, for all of us here at INFLCR, we couldn’t be more excited about the next few years that lie ahead in our partnership, and of course helping escort you and your program into the NIL era.