Jeremy Dougherty has high hopes for the University of Colorado football and basketball teams.
The long-time CU fan hasn’t been shy on social media the past few months in expressing his belief that the Buffaloes will win another national title soon in football.
He doesn’t just want the Buffs to win on the field, however. He wants to help the student-athletes build successful futures after their time at CU.
On Friday, Dougherty launched Reimagine Athletes, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with the purpose of giving education grants to CU student-athletes in football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball.
It is the latest endeavor in the NIL (name, image and likeness) space that has changed college athletics dramatically in the past 18 months.
Dougherty is a fourth-generation Coloradoan who, despite being a graduate of Colorado State, is an avid Buffs’ fan.
The founder of the Maroon Bell Outdoor apparel line, Dougherty is hoping Reimagine Athletes will be a game-changer for CU and its student-athletes.
Dougherty’s goal is to raise $150 million for the endowment and to distribute grants to the football and basketball student-athletes at CU. The ultimate goal is to cap the annual grants at $100,000 per athlete. Reimagine Athletes would use the name, image and likeness of the student-athletes to promote the project.
In addition to the student-athletes receiving grants, Dougherty plans to connect them with a network of financial, tax and legal professionals so they can get valuable education in financial management and wealth generation.
“We believe by connecting athletes with the community through monetary and non-monetary means will empower and humanize the athletes,” Dougherty said.
Dougherty said Reimagine Athletes won’t compete with other NIL collectives. In fact, he hopes the student-athletes can get involved with as many NIL deals as possible to help their futures.
He also said it was important to include women’s basketball because, “We believe there is simplicity in equality. We don’t think it is fair to exclude anyone based on revenue generation.”
In getting started, Reimagine Athletes is asking CU fans and donors to contribute at least $5 per week. All donations would go to the grant program and funds will be split equally among the eligible student-athletes. Fans and donors can visit www.ReimagineAthletes.com for more information.
The Reimagine Athletes board of directors includes Wade Manning, a retired educator in Cherry Creek Schools who played in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos and others; Dr. Rhonda Sneed, a counselor, educator, author and the mother of RJ Sneed, who was a senior receiver with the Buffs this season; and Dougherty’s twin brother, Shawn, the founder of Dougherty Land Company.
Dougherty believes student-athletes will want to come to CU because of the program being designed by Reimagine Athletes. And, while he’d love to see CU win national titles on the field or court, that’s not the main goal.
“We are not buying players to win games,” he said. “We are investing in individuals so they can have a bright future.”