Dan Lambert, the owner of the Florida-based chain of mixed martial arts gyms, said he has offered each University of Miami scholarship football player a monthly payment of $500 a month in exchange for the team to advertise his gyms on social media.
Since the NCAA officially allowed its players to profit from their name, image and likeness on Tuesday, this would be the largest reported sum for a college endorsement deal. The total sum could be as much as $540,000.
"I want to help the kids," Lambert told ESPN. "I want to reward them for what they do, and I want a better product on the field, too. I want to improve the reputation of the school and the team I love so much. I think it's a cool opportunity to get involved and make a difference."
The hardcore Hurricanes fan and owner of American Top Team said it was the largest deal his business has ever made but has already stated that he's not sure he'll offer players the same deal in the future. Instead, he has a different plan.
He has started the corporation Bring Back The U in an effort to continue to help pay Miami football players. His attorney, Darren Heitner, was hired to make sure Lambert is not violating any laws as he continues his efforts to support the team financially.
Heitner told ESPN that Lambert's previous donations and personal love for the team do not keep him from starting a company that assists Miami athletes in getting paid.
"There's no prohibition on an entity who may have a booster as a member," Heitner said. "The only restriction is if the entity itself supports the institution or the athletic department."
"I'm not looking to profit from this," Lambert told ESPN. "I want to try to bring people together and make our team better. I've got too many Gator and Seminole friends that have been s------- on me for the last 20 years. I want to reverse it."
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