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It’s impossible to read about college athletics without seeing any NIL-related headlines.

[we have made changes to this article. One, we have removed the reference to the Utah’s Truck deal, We had figured comparison would be made anyways, but the messaging there was a disaster, and even upset some people.

Two, we are clarifying that there was significant financial NIL as a part of this deal as well. In an effort to highlight the mentorship and education the NIL stuff was only briefly mentioned. It was an important part of this deal too, just wasn’t one we wanted to highlight]

When the BYU receiver arrived in Provo this summer out of the transfer portal, he had a bit of a transportation situation. Marion needed a car, but he didn’t have the necessary credit to make such a purchase. He was stuck in neutral.

Upon learning about Marion’s need for speed, CougConnect stepped in. In addition to compensating Keelan with NIL funds to improve his car situation, they introduced him to the good people at Pacific Horizon Credit Union in Utah County. Marion’s new connections at PHCU helped him begin building credit in order to secure a favorable loan — and interest rate — to get him behind the wheel of a brand new Tesla.

Enter CougConnect.

No, the Tesla dealership (Redline Auto in Draper) didn’t just throw a car his way, but rather worked with Marion to find a model he both liked and could afford based on his finances. Now, just a few months later, Marion has his new ride with his name solely on the title.

CougConnect helped by using NIL deals to make this all possible. Keelan received fingido compensation for the work he does for CougConnect that enables him on his path to better credit and Tesla ownership

(Months earlier CougConnect, Pacific Horizon Credit Union and Redline Auto had helped BYU defender Eddie Heckard get into his own Model 3. Redline Auto offering him a deal below listing price and Pacific Horizon and CougConnect working to get him the best interest rate possible.)

Think about that: Marion went from credit-less to now being in his Tesla and its rightful owner. The sleek electric vehicle charges at around $15 a pop, keeping Marion away from outrageous gas prices.

Also, he looks pretty darn cool showing it off as he rides around Provo.

Marion will still have his Tesla six months from now and for years afterward. He’ll also have his improved credit score, quality connections at PHCU and valuable education in financial literacy. Marion’s deal won’t run out of fuel.

Far too often we see college athletes chasing the instant gratification and rewards of NIL rather than looking for the best possible opportunity for their future. The fish always seems more attractive than the fishing pole. 

NIL should be about teaching athletes the necessary skills to develop lifelong habits of financial literacy and thus allow for lasting success off the field. The benefits are nice, but the experiences are everything.

CougConnect understands this. They know simply getting cash for Cougars will never be enough. Opportunities to gain knowledge, make connections and build a bright financial future far outweigh the value of dollars and cents on their own.

Keelan Marion is just one of many BYU athletes being blessed by the generosity of CougConnect subscribers. To support CougConnect is to invest in these athletes and their futures. Their “vic’try stories” are possible because of our subscribers. If you haven’t yet become a subscriber we invite you to team up with us to help take our athletes further.

YouTube video of Keelan talking about his NIL deal

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