Editor's note: This story originally said Texas Tech's was the first teamwide name, image, likeness offer extended to a softball team, according to the Matador Club's announcement. It has been updated to reflect Arkansas players were offered a team-wide NIL agreement in April.
The Texas Tech softball team will be the next program to benefit from the Matador Club, the donor organization that serves Tech athletes through name, image and likeness agreements legalized last year by state laws and the NCAA.
The Matador Club said in a statement on Wednesday it will offer "five-figure" annual contracts to 27 Red Raiders softball players who can sign on Thursday.
Matador Club board member Cody Campbell said the deals are for $10,000 annually to be paid out over the course of the year. In exchange, the players will be asked to participate in community service projects and appearances at Matador Club events.
"The crowdfunded collective asks players to use their name, image, and likeness, as well as online presence and physical time to support local, Lubbock-based nonprofit organizations," the Matador Club's announcement said.
The Matador Club announcement said Tech's was the first teamwide NIL team offered to a softball team. However, Arkansas' team in April was offered a teamwide NIL agreement with Everett Buick GMC of Bryant, Arkansas as part of its "See Her Greatness" campaign to give visibility to female athletes.
Matador Club board member John Sellers and his wife Tracy, a former Tech softball player, "have spearheaded this initiative," according to Primitive Social, a Lubbock inbound marketing agency.
"As Texas Tech alumni, we believe strongly in the mission and purpose of Texas Tech athletics and we are thankful for the time we spent on campus as student athletes that shaped our character, work ethic and drive to succeed,” Sellers said in a statement released by the Matador Club. "We are humbled to be able to support the next generation of Texas Tech softball athletes, and to facilitate their growth as students, athletes and people. We look forward to seeing the future accomplishments of this program on and off the field."
The Matador Club in mid-July signed Tech football players to $25,000 annual contracts, offering them to 85 scholarship players and 15 of the team's top walk-ons. Campbell said the players would be paid monthly beginning at the start of August, and Tech players have confirmed in interviews with The Avalanche-Journal those payments have begun.
When the Matador Club launched in February, Campbell said he and fellow Tech supporters Terry Fuller, Sellers, Gary Petersen, Tim Culp and Marc McDougal are board members for the organization. Campbell and Sellers are former Canyon High School and Tech football teammates, as well as business partners.
A separate NIL group that supports Tech athletes, the Level 13 Agency, announced in late July it is making $25,000 commitments to all Lady Raiders basketball players.
The Tech softball team finished 22-27 last season, including 5-13 in the Big 12. Second-year head coach Sami Ward was fired shortly before the season ended. Tech hired her replacement in June: Craig Snider, whose resume includes stops as an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin (2007-10), Florida State (2011-19) and Texas A&M (2020-22).
For scholarship purposes, softball is defined by the NCAA as an equivalency sport. Division I softball programs have the equivalent of 12 scholarships that a coaching staff can divide across the roster.
Texas Tech plays its Big 12 road opener Thursday at Oklahoma State. The match begins at 7 p.m. at Neal Patterson Stadium in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
Tech (4-3-4, 0-1-1) opened conference play at home with a 1-1 tie against West Virginia last Thursday and a 2-0 loss Sunday to No. 25 Texas.
Oklahoma State (9-1-1, 2-0) has won six matches in a row, during which it's outscored opponents 16-2. The two most recent were Big 12 road victories of 2-0 last Thursday at Kansas and 1-0 on Sunday at Kansas State.
The Red Raiders' top scorers are Macy Schultz (three goals, one assist, seven points), Ashleigh Williams (3-0-6) and Charlotte Teeter (2-0-4). The Cowgirls' Olyvia Dowell (7-2-16) and Grace Yochum (7-1-5) are tied for second in the conference in goals and rank among the top five in points.
Madison White, third in Tech history with 22 career shutouts, will to fend off the Cowgirls' strikers.
Texas Tech safety Marquis Waters is among 156 semifinalists announced Wednesday for the William V. Campbell Trophy, presented annually to the top scholar-athlete in college football.
A candidate for the award must be a senior or graduate student in his final year of eligibility, have a grade-point average of at least 3.2 on a 4.0-point scale and be a starter or significant contributor to his team. Other criteria include strong leadership and citzenship.
Waters is in his second season at Tech after transferring from Duke, where he spent four seasons. He has 42 career starts. He went to high school at Delray Beach (Fla.) Atlantic.
The National Football Foundation will announce 12 to 14 finalists on Oct. 26, and each of them will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. The winner will be announced on Dec. 6 in Las Vegas, Nevada at the NFF's annual awards dinner.
This article originally appeared on Lubbock Avalanche-Journal: Matador Club offering $10K contracts to all Texas Tech softball players