On Tuesday, Alliance 412 announced the launch of Oakland Originals, a new digital entity produced for its athletes at the University of Pittsburgh.
The team — led by Alliance 412 founder Chris Bickell, COO Jeff Goldberg, and Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer John Pelusi — joined forces with Jaster Athletes, an athlete marketing agency launched by CEO Jordon Rooney. The group has major plans to bring resources to Pitt athletes that it claims cannot be found anywhere else across the college athletics landscape.
“There are big-time boosters in college football who make it all about them,” Rooney said. “This [Bickell] is someone who is just as powerful as all of them and doesn’t make it about him. Chris is someone who is like, Jordon, how can we do this in a way that actually puts the athletes first. That is the way of Coach Narduzzi’s philosophies on things. He doesn’t want to get into the pay players, buy players type of game. It’s very much like, how can Pitt as a university do more for their players? Chris approached, and we talked in a similar manner. How do we do this in a way where we give them more resources? I’m like, well that’s exactly it.”
“Sure, it’s nice that players can be able to get paid due to NIL, but how do we give them more resources? In doing so, we were like, Ok, let’s develop this concept that no one else is doing right now,” Rooney continued. “How can we help them where NIL isn’t just transactional, it isn’t just a one-time thing or something while they’re in college.”
On June 30, 2021, the NCAA’s DI Board of Directors approved a name, image, and likeness policy which allowed all NCAA athletes to earn compensation for their name, image, and likeness. Since that date, hundreds of university-specific collectives have popped up around the country, providing athletes with NIL opportunities — which sometimes means straight cash.
When coming up with the idea of Oakland Originals, Alliance 412 and Jaster thought differently.
“With this entity, think of it as the marketing entity for Alliance  and all things NIL, but also, it’s going to be a marketing agency for Pitt’s athletes,” Rooney said. “All of Pitt’s athletes, through partnership with us, will be able to get content created, brand coaching, graphic design, financial literacy. Whatever it is, it’s not just a workshop. It’s around the clock. Alliance is paying, providing the service for the athletes to build their brand in an impactful manner. To get their LLC’s. To build their businesses. It’s the first time a collective has done this.”
Rooney mentioned that two collectives, one from USC and one from South Carolina, have developed partnerships strictly to bring athletes deals.
“What happened was, there was NIL changes, and they said, ‘Hey, you can’t just provide something to student athletes. If you provide it to student athletes, you have to provide it to everybody.’ So, these entities, now, no longer exist. The reason why it’s different here? It’s through the collective. Any athlete signed to the collective gets these resources that no other athlete is able to get.”
“NIL is really running the college landscape right now,” said Pelushi, who played football for Pitt in the mid-2000s. “The big focus is to continue to make the University of Pittsburgh the top destination for these student athletes. From recruitment, to retention, to the transfer portal, they’re all buckets that we really need to focus on if we want to continue to be at the top of the country in what we do.”
Alliance 412 also introduced its membership program on Monday. They offer six different membership plans, ranging from student plans ($10 per month) all the way to premium plans ($500 per month or $5,500 annually).
To view Alliance 412’s membership tiers, click here.