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Former Washington football stars launch 1861 NIL Foundation

Washington Athletics
Photo credit: Red Box Pictures

Several former Washington football players teamed up to launch the 1861 NIL Foundation, which will help provide NIL opportunities and education for current student-athletes at the university.

It is led by executive director Catherine Clark and a board featuring four former Huskies football players: Steve Emtman, Mario Bailey, Will Dissly, and Lawyer Milloy.

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Clark was a swimmer at Washington from 1981-1985.

“You may wonder why I’m so committed to this,” Clark told The Seattle Times. “I don’t come from a stable family background. My athletic scholarship was my way out. It provided me my own life and my own power and my own money and I got away from something that was really difficult for me.”

Clark continued: “So I really want to make sure that what happened for me is there for other kids like me. Every athletic department has kids like me that are not five-star quarterbacks, that are just people who need a way out and need a positive way to do it. I think athletics are a great way to do it.”

Dissly, now a tight end for the Seattle Seahawks, feels that NIL has been long overdue.

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“I’m not going to lie: Seattle’s not a cheap place to live,” Dissly told The Seattle Times. “I’m not a trust fund baby, so there were days when I was bumming a few bucks from teammates to buy tacos, waiting for that next check to hit.

“A lot of people can relate: It’s check to check when you’re a college student. You’re working, man. You’re not just competing on the football field. You’re competing at UW against some of the brightest minds in the country. They’re doing that for their full-time job, and you’re doing a full-time job playing football. I definitely think those players should get what they deserve.”