Razorback star basketball player J.D. Notae, who currently leads the SEC in scoring, has signed with a newly formed NIL group backed by the J.B. Hunt family, the organization announced Wednesday morning.
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.
The group, Athlete Advocate Consortium (AAC), was founded by Bryan Hunt, the son of J.B. Hunt Transport Services co-founders Johnelle and J.B. Hunt, and his wife, Mandy. Once NIL legislation was passed in June allowing college athletes to benefit financially off their names, images and likenesses, the Hunts began working to structure an organization that “would operate in the best interests of the athletes while making a positive impact on the local community,” according to a press release.
In a statement, Bryan Hunt said AAC will create a structure that identifies needs within the community and develops processes and procedures to meet those needs, rather than focusing solely on monetization of athletes.
“NIL policy has given college athletes the option to enter the business world, but with great power comes great responsibility,” he said. “AAC connects these college athletes with a local nonprofit, 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 will work with Samaritan Community Center, a Northwest Arkansas nonprofit providing food and other resources to families 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,” Notae said. “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.”
Mandy Hunt said AAC differs from player-management organizations by focusing on the athlete’s long-term future.
“Our interest in these athletes is far greater than how many followers they currently have on social media,” she said. “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.”
According to the release, AAC will provide a full-time team for each of its partner athletes, focusing on all facets of the student-athlete’s college career and future.
Debbie Rambo, executive director of Samaritan Community Center, said Notae’s personal experience will help raise awareness to the level of need in the region.
“Many people across Northwest Arkansas are unaware of the extent poverty and hunger exist in our region,” she said. “That’s why Samaritan Community Center is excited to partner with AAC and especially J.D. 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.”