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Ben Boulware, Darien Rencher lead new NIL endeavor for athletes and fans

Matt Mynes, Asst. Photo Editor

Clemson running back Darien Rencher answers questions from the media after the Tigers’ 2022 pro day. 

As name, image and likeness (NIL) arrangements become increasingly synonymous with college football, two former Clemson players are working together to create a new platform that benefits Clemson student-athletes and their fans.
After seeing the success of Georgia players participating in their version of the endeavor, former Clemson linebacker Ben Boulware and former running back Darien Rencher are leading the way in establishing the Palmetto Cat Crew, a NIL community space powered by The Players’ Lounge. 
For a $199 NFT token that serves as a subscription, fans will be able to have behind-the-scenes access to players, including message boards, private chats with athletes and exclusive in-person events. Meanwhile, the participating athletes will receive money directly from each of the subscriptions. 
So far, 12 current Clemson players have signed deals to be involved with the Palmetto Cat Crew: Tyler Davis, Malcolm Greene, K.J. Henry, Jordan McFadden, Andrew Mukuba, Joseph Ngata, Kobe Pace, B.T. Potter, Trenton Simpson, Drew Swinney, Xavier Thomas and Tyler Venables. 
Boulware, a key member of Clemson’s 2016 national championship team, believes it is a mutually beneficial decision to create this extended interaction between the athletes and fans.
“For me, it’s easy. It’s just a no-brainer,” Boulware said in an interview with The Tiger. “Because when I played, you didn’t really have access to us. You caught us on the field after a game or watched our TigerNet interviews. That’s about the only access you got to the players. And now each player is hopping in these weekly Twitter spaces and Discords.”
Regarding the fans and players interacting in person, Rencher, who played with Clemson from 2016 to 2021, told The Clemson Insider that he and Boulware are hoping to host at least four events this year including a potential golf outing.
“From our side of the tracks to the players’ side of the tracks, and from the fans’ side of the tracks, it’s a win-win-win for literally everybody,” said Boulware.
Boulware and seven of the 12 partnering Clemson athletes will attend The Players’ Lounge launch party on Saturday, July 23, at the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Players from five other schools, Alabama, Auburn, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas, are also launching their own platforms at the event. 
Those interested in joining the Palmetto Cat Crew can visit its website and purchase a subscription on July 23. 

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