Stanford Athletics changes NIL approach with Lifetime Cardinal endorsement

On April 2, Athletic Director Bernard Muir endorsed Lifetime Cardinal, an independently owned Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) collective dedicated to Stanford student-athletes — a first for the University, the announcement marked a pivot in the University’s NIL approach.

“We expect that [Lifetime Cardinal’s] decisions will rest on the values and priorities that guide Stanford Athletics, and I encourage you to learn more about their organization and consider engaging,” Muir wrote.

Lifetime Cardinal, founded by Allen Thorpe ’92 and Jesse Rogers ’78, has already signed over 140 Stanford student-athletes for the upcoming school year. In addition to its NIL income opportunities, the collective offers various programs for student-athletes to advance professional careers outside athletics.

In addition to the endorsement of Lifetime Cardinal, Muir reinforced Stanford Athletics’ partnership with Altius Sports Partners (ASP), a strategic consultancy that offers NIL support to college athletic departments. With ASP, Stanford Athletics will have an in-house NIL General Manager to help maximize NIL opportunities for student-athletes.

According to Thorpe, Stanford’s new NIL approach will help all of Stanford Athletics thrive. 

“Bernard Muir’s letter describing Lifetime Cardinal’s critical role for Stanford Athletics was strong and clear,” Thorpe wrote in a message to the Daily. “Stanford has a next level NIL collective that is strong, committed, and differentiated from any other program.”

According to Thorpe, Lifetime Cardinal provides more than NIL opportunities, with “financial education and career services that help fulfill the lifelong promise that our student-athletes and their families sign up for when they come to Stanford.”