Michigan Football: Athletic department hiring NIL GM is a Big Deal

East Carolina v Michigan
East Carolina v Michigan / Aaron J. Thornton/GettyImages

The Michigan Athletic Department made a splash hire this week, bringing in Terése Whitehead to be Michigan's NIL Executive GM. Whitehead, who is a Michigan alumni and former NLFPA employee will look to secure NIL opportunities for student athletes.

This is a big development, specifically for Michigan Football. Many top athletic schools across the country have already hired NIL executives.

Michigan football has been behind the 8-ball but has hired two high-level executives this offseason in Sean Magee, who is football-specific, and now Whitehead, who will work with the Athletic Department and Michigan NIL partner Altius Sports Partners.

Why this matters for Michigan football and other programs

This is an important hire, because it gives even more support to the idea that the Athletic Department is finally coming around on NIL. It's no secret that Warde Manuel and the Michigan administration have been very slow to adopt NIL, but it seems that the tide may be turning just a bit.

During this offseason alone, the Michigan Basketball and Football NIL pools have grown significantly. We saw the Michigan football team manage to retain the entirety of its core, while the basketball team was able to secure tons of high-level transfers. Both of those demanded large amounts of money and attention, showing that Michigan can compete on the NIL front when it wants to.

The next step is to give these opportunities to every player, which is one of Whiteheads goals. She wants every athlete to be supported through NIL, and is going to create more opportunities and bring more money into the picture for Michigan.

What does this mean for recruiting?

More opportunities for ALL players will ideally create something close to a base salary model. If every player has opportunities to capitalize on NIL, Michigan will be able to pitch that to recruits so they know that even if they don't become a superstar, they're going to make money.

In terms of superstars, this should mean even more money for them, which will hopefully put Michigan on the same level as other NIL powerhouses in terms of superstar pay. While Michigan's stars are making large amounts of money, they're still not quite to the level that other schools were offering.

As a whole, this hire will hopefully make Michigan more competitive on all levels of NIL. From recruiting high school kids to retaining current players, the increase in opportunities to capitalize on NIL will put Michigan in a better position.

To me, this also seems like preparation for a revenue sharing model. Remember, there is lots of smoke that NIL will soon transform into a model where players get a cut of the TV revenue. That would, on paper, be tremendous for Michigan considering the money they bring in.


Hiring someone with experience working with the largest revenue sharing model in America definitely feels like preparation for that change. Regardless, this is another step in the right direction for Michigan. They are slowly but surely closing the NIL gap, and will hopefully be more competitive very shortly.