Invest in women: Wichita State home to one of nation's first female-focused NIL collective

Nov. 15—A group of local businessmen have launched a Name, Image and Likeness collective to focus solely on supporting the women athletes at Wichita State University.

After noticing the majority of the NIL money-making opportunities going to male football and basketball players in the college sports landscape, Chad Pore and Brad Lingafelter, who work together under Paladin Strategies LLC, were motivated to invest in women by creating Lady Shocks Squad, believed to be one of the only female sports-specific NIL collectives in the country.

The female-focused NIL collective launched on Nov. 1 with seven student-athletes already on board: softball stars Sydney McKinney, Addison Barnard and Camryn Compton, Wichita natives and Kapaun Mt. Carmel graduates Ella Anciaux (basketball) and Clara Whitaker (tennis), track and field’s Brianna Utecht and volleyball’s Natalie Foster.

The response from the Wichita business community has been strong, according to Lingafelter. The group also commended WSU athletic director Kevin Saal for his support before and after the launch.

“I’m not sure what our expectations were to start with because you don’t know what you don’t know, but it’s been really great so far,” Lingafelter said. “We’ve already been a part of some planning sessions and on Thursday we’re meeting with a group of Wichita business people. And (WSU athletic director) Kevin Saal has been absolutely phenomenal to work with. We weren’t sure how quick it would take off, but we’ve been very encouraged by the response so far.”

Pore and Lingafelter made it a priority to seek out former WSU female star athletes to bring them on as advisors to the collective, as well as mentors to the current Shocker athletes working with the group.

Lady Shocks Squad already has several prominent former WSU athletes on board, like Desiraye (Osburn) Speer (four-time All-American distance runner), Hannah Mortimer (former Harlem Globetrotters player), Sara (Lungren) Walkup (two-time MVC Player of the Year in volleyball) and Jazimen Gordon (helped women’s basketball to first NCAA Tournament berth).

Not only will the NIL collective help connect the current Shocker stars to those former standout athletes for what they hope will be relationships that last beyond their playing careers, but the group will also help connect the players with their fans in the community.

Different levels of memberships are available on LadyShocksSquad.com, as fans have the opportunity to gain behind-the-scenes access, receive autographed pictures, schedule virtual meet-and-greets, purchase exclusive apparel, and have the student-athletes participate in social media campaigns, make live appearances or shoot commercials for their business.

“Our biggest thing is that we want to help any female student-athlete who wants to try to get some NIL money,” Lingafelter said. “We’re looking at doing all sorts of things to help them out. We’re talking about partnering with any charities or nonprofits that they might be interested in. The most encouraging part is that we have found that every athlete has their own fans and every sport has their own fans, so there have been a lot of people interested.”

Lingafelter said those interested in supporting women athletes at Wichita State should reach out through the Lady Shocks Squad website or follow along on their social media pages on Twitter and Instagram.

“We’ve talked to athletes from a few other schools and one of the coolest things about Wichita State’s athletes is how down-to-Earth they are,” Lingafelter said. “Everyone we’ve talked to has brought up how Wichita State is just one big family. All of these girls are so easy to push to businesses because they represent the city of Wichita, Wichita State University and their respective teams unbelievably.”

This story was originally published November 15, 2022 7:00 AM.

(c)2022 The Wichita Eagle (Wichita, Kan.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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