“Rattlers stars strike NIL partnership with alumnus”.

The name, the image, the likeness have changed college athletics. Now Florida A&M is entering that space with the Rattlers football trio partnering with alumnus Eli Patrick's youth foundation.


Name, image and likeness agreements have changed college sports.

Launched in 2021, NIL provides student-athletes the opportunity to generate income by acting as business ambassadors.

Florida A&M is committed to this area.

For example, the Rattlers football trio Kelvin Dean Jr. (running back), Jalen Goss (offensive lineman), Ashton Grable (offensive lineman), James Ash (defensive lineman) and Kendall Bohler (cornerback) have all worked with the Patrick Youth Development Foundation .

Led by FAMU alumnus, military veteran and Beta Nu Chapter member Eli Patrick of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., PYDF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to empower male teens and young men look after. Patrick named the organization after his father, Dr. James H. Patrick, a successful coach, businessman and educator based in Columbus, Georgia and Phenix City, Alabama.

Eli Patrick said the vision of the FAMU football players aligned with his, which is why he identified them as representatives of his organization.

“As I looked at the program and talked to some of the other people in the program, I wanted to find someone who represented the same thing that my foundation represented — leadership, high character and being a role model among his peers,” Eli Patrick told the Tallahassee Democrat.

“They represent themselves, the football team and FAMU well.”

The FAMU football program has always emphasized serving the community, such as when the team beautified the local Nims Middle School campus last August.

Goss, a graduate student, is most excited about giving back in his partnership with PYDF and his teammates.

“Just as an alumni who wants to work with the team and work in the NIL space, partnering with Mr. Patrick was a good start for us,” Goss said. “It’s more than just a partnership with him. We have a lot of work in progress doing things in the community and his organization supports us.

“It’s been pretty cool so far.”

FAMU affiliates are taking initial steps toward establishing an NIL collective for student-athletes

Athletic programs or universities cannot enter into NIL deals for their student-athletes.

Hence Rattler sports fans, led by the two-time FAMU alumna Ashley Colemanare making progress in establishing a NIL organization, the “Fang Exchange.”

Patrick has been in talks with the Fang Exchange and his NIL partnership with Dean, Goss and Bohler is one of the first dominoes to fall.

The Fang Exchange can help with player retention, like Florida State's The Battle's End did. Rattlers Football will be in the midst of a repeat run for the Black College National Championship in 2024.

“NIL for college athletes has changed the game,” Patrick said. “For FAMU to be competitive in the future, we need to get into this area and make sure our players can take advantage of zero opportunities.

“By partnering with Ashley and the Fang Exchange, we can hopefully attract more donations and be inclusive of all sports and genders at FAMU. Donations are needed to help more athletes and some smaller sports.”

Former FAMU players have outsourced for NIL deals, such as former Rattlers football star and current Indianapolis Colt Isaiah Land with Ready Life and Hungry Howie's.

However, Goss, who transferred from FSU to FAMU in 2022, is proud of the Rattler community coming together to financially support student-athletes.

“It shows that FAMU alumni are strong because they care about us enough to help us get some of these partnerships and compensation for what we do,” Goss said.

“FAMU seeks to enter a new time and era by navigating the NIL space. I hope we will continue to make progress in the future.”

Florida A&M Rattlers 2024 football schedule

  • August 24 vs. Norfolk State in the MEAC/SWAC Challenge, Atlanta*
  • Aug. 31 vs. South Carolina State
  • September 7th in Miami
  • September 21st in Troy
  • Sept. 28 vs. Alabama A&M
  • October 5th at Alabama State
  • Oct. 19 at Jackson State
  • Oct. 26 vs. Southern
  • November 2 vs. Texas Southern (HOMECOMING)
  • Nov. 9 at Prairie View A&M
  • Nov. 16 vs. Mississippi Valley State
  • November 23rd against Bethune-Cookman, Orlando*


* = Neutral location

Gerald Thomas, III covers Florida A&M University Athletics for the Tallahassee Democrat. Contact him by email at [email protected] or on the app formerly known as Twitter @3peatgee.

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