Mat Ishbia was a walk-on at MSU and won a national title with coach Tom Izzo and Mateen Cleaves in 2000. After graduation, he helped develop his father’s United Wholesale Mortgage into a multibillion dollar competitor to Rocket Mortgage.
He’s put nearly $1 million together to give today’s college athletes the experience he didn’t have when he was at MSU.
“We didn’t differentiate. I didn’t pay the star quarterback different than a third string walk-on linebacker. They all get the same it’s all part of it. We want them to support our brand and we’re going to support them,” Ishbia said.
Any undertaking like cutting checks to college athletes is as complicated as one may expect.
“Mateen Cleaves, who works here, he went up and spoke with all the players. It’s hard to actually get with all these athletes, meet with them one-on-one because there is nothing to do with the university,” Ishbia said.
Chloe V. Mitchell, an Aquinas College student known as the first NCAA athlete to make money under the new NIL (name, image, and likeness) system, now has a company with family called PlayBooked, which connects athletes to companies.
Patrick Werksma, PlayBooked chief operating officer, applauds Ishbia’s NIL deal.
“Since the beginning of the NCAA, people have been taking things straight out of college athlete’s pockets. It’s great to see people putting stuff back in,” Werksma said.