Former KU Senior Associate AD Dan Beckler joining forces with Mass Strategies
Kansas Athletics announces hiring of 2 NIL directors
photo by: Mike Gunnoe
Mass Strategies, the collective overseeing the University of Kansas’ name, image and likeness opportunities, has added a new member to its team.
Former KU Senior Associate Athletic Director Dan Beckler has joined Matt Baty as a co-owner of the collective. His last day with Kansas Athletics Inc., was Tuesday, and Beckler’s work with Mass St. Collective is expected to begin with KU’s first football game on Sept. 2.
Beckler arrived at KU in September of 2019 fresh off of a stint with the San Francisco 49ers. He joined the college ranks then because of his desire to connect with young people, and he believes this new endeavor will provide an even greater opportunity to do that.
“Our collective is going to be able to alter generations of our student-athlete’s lives,” Beckler told the Journal-World this week. “But this isn’t just going to change the lives of the student-athletes we connect with. This is going to impact the community in so many great ways, too.”
Although the constantly evolving NIL industry is still relatively new in college athletics, Beckler said it was a big part of his three years at KU.
From monitoring proposed state and federal bills and legal maneuvering in the space throughout the country to being closely involved with KU’s initial NIL rollout plans, Beckler said the NIL work he did was “something that was always intriguing to me.”
Beckler was there and helped prepare KU Chancellor Douglas Girod when he spoke in support of federal legislation for college athletes being paid at a hearing in front of the United States Senate in February of 2020.
Beckler said he elected to partner with Mass Strategies co-founder Matt Baty because of his passion for helping student-athletes build their brands and cash in on their value.
“That’s what the NFL guys and pro athletes do,” Beckler said. “And I want to help college athletes do the same thing while giving back at the same time. In order to do that to the fullest, it was important for me to put some skin in the game.”
Although they had known each for a few years, Baty and Beckler first discussed a possible partnership in June, when Baty shared his plans to combine the Sixth Man Strategies Kansas basketball collective and 12th Man Strategies football initiative under the same umbrella. The idea there was that operating under one name would allow the collective to better serve all 500 or so KU student-athletes.
From that initial conversation, the idea of joining forces was born, with Beckler coming on board to run the daily operations and Baty overseeing Mass St. Collective’s fundraising efforts.
“When you get into something like this, I’ve always believed you need to have the right people on the bus and the right people in the lineup,” Baty told the Journal-World. “Dan’s been at the pinnacle of his career, both in the NFL and at a Power 5 university, and for him to make a decision like this I think speaks volumes about how important NIL is and how impactful NIL can be at an institution like KU.”
KU is still in the process of finding Beckler’s replacement, but his jump into the NIL space is not the only name, image and likeness news to come from KU this week.
On Thursday, KU announced a partnership with industry leader Opendorse to provide a marketplace platform for KU’s student-athletes to connect with businesses and NIL opportunities. According to the release announcing the news, KU is “among the first programs nationwide to provide a single marketplace to send supporters to access student-athletes and offer compliant opportunities.”
Kansas Athletics also recently announced the hiring of Casey Seberger and Tate Gillespie as NIL directors for the department.
Seberger, who comes to KU from Opendorse, will specialize in athlete brand development and partnerships while also serving as KU’s lead communicator with Mass St. Collective. She also spent time at KU in the past, working with KAI’s multimedia rights partner Learfield.
Gillespie, who joins KU after helping launch a new NIL vertical for Talkwalker, will oversee the school’s NIL strategies and be the lead communicator with NIL expert Altius Sports Partners.
“We are thrilled to welcome two talented and experienced members to the team who are passionate about educating and empowering our student-athletes in the NIL space,” KU Athletic Director Travis Goff said in a news release. “The hires of Casey and Tate demonstrate our continued commitment to strengthening NIL services and reflect our belief that Jayhawk student-athletes should have ample and diverse opportunities to benefit from their name, image and likeness.”
In the release announcing KU’s two new hires, Goff said he was “confident” that KU could be a leader in the NIL space.
Baty and Beckler agreed, and both said they were excited to help position KU and its student-athletes among the national leaders in name, image and likeness opportunities.
“We needed a leader of this,” Baty said of bringing Beckler on board. “When he said he was interested, teaming up with Dan was a no-brainer for us. Having somebody leading the team that is truly focused on the best interest of the student-athletes and is passionate about it is going to be great for Mass Strategies and great for KU, as well.”