FAYETTEVILLE, ARK., January 26th, 2022 – For the first time, student athletes across the country have
the right to benefit from their own name, image and likeness (NIL). Since the NCAA announced changes
to NIL policy in June of last year, there has been a whirlwind of activity with management companies
and potential sponsors looking to engage NCAA athletes like Arkansas’ senior guard JD Notae.
These changes bring new opportunity as well as challenges for student-athletes. A new NIL organization
looks to meet these challenges for college-athletes by “Assisting in the development of student athletes to achieve their maximum potential in all aspects of their college experience with a focus on their personal interactions in their community and civic responsibilities,” according to the group’s mission statement.
AAC was founded by Bryan and Mandy Hunt, son and daughter-in-law of JB and Johnelle Hunt, the
entrepreneurs who founded JB Hunt Transportation Services. Since the NIL changes were announced in
June of 2021, the couple have been at work to structure an organization that would operate in the best
interests of the athletes while making a positive impact on the local community. They say their goal is to
connect these future sports and business leaders with opportunities to use their abilities to help others,
specifically in areas of community issues that speak to them on a person level.
According to Bryan Hunt, while most NIL programs to date focus solely on the monetization of the
athlete and the companies engaging them, AAC will strive to create a structure that identifies needs
within the community and develops processes and procedures to meet those needs.
“NIL policy has given college athletes the option to enter the business world, but with great power comes great responsibility,” said AAC Co-Founder Bryan Hunt. “AAC connects these college athletes with a local non-profit, not only to give back to a cause they care about but to also bring awareness to all of the good these organizations are doing to help our communities.”
Notae said this is what inspired him to be the first athlete to sign with AAC and has chosen to work with
Samaritan Community Center, a Northwest Arkansas non-profit providing food and other resources to
families living in need.
“Growing up in a family that struggled to put dinner on the table from time to time, this issue is close to
my heart,” said Notae. “I’ve always felt like if I was ever in the position to help another family who needs
a little help making sure their kids get good meals I would. AAC has given me the opportunity to put the
spotlight on Samaritan Community Center so all the members of our community can see the good work
they do and learn about ways they can help.”
Debbie Rambo, executive director of Samaritan Community Center, says Notae’s personal experience
will help give voice to our call to action and raise awareness to the level of need.
“Many people across Northwest Arkansas are unaware of the extent poverty and hunger exist in our region,” said Rambo. “That’s why Samaritan Community Center is excited to partner with AAC and especially JD Notae. He is passionate about drawing attention to this issue, and community collaboration is so important to the efforts of helping at-risk families in our community thrive.”
According to Co-Founder Mandy Hunt, in addition to giving back to the community, AAC differs from
player-management organizations by focusing on the athlete’s future in the long term.
“Our interest in these athletes is far greater than how many followers they currently have on social
media,” said Mandy Hunt. “We care about their success long after they’ve played their final game
wearing their team jersey.” We also look at players who haven’t always had it easy growing up, those
who could use a support system to help them accelerate their journey off the court or playing field.”
About Athlete Advocate Consortium
AAC provides a full-time team to each of our partner athletes, a team dedicated to building the student athlete’s image and helping them reach their full potential. The AAC team focuses on all facets of the student-athlete’s college career and most importantly, their future.