One college football player is putting the new NIL ruling to good use.
Dillan Gibbons, an MBA candidate at FSU and a lineman for the Seminoles, started a GoFundMe on Thursday afternoon to raise money for his disabled friend to watch him play football.
On Thursday, the NCAA began permitting student athletes to profit off their name, likeness, and image. This includes anything between brand sponsorships, selling autographs and merchandise, and social media promotions.
Gibbons, who played for Notre Dame as an undergraduate, met Timothy Donovan as he left the stadium following his first game playing for the Fighting Irish. Donovan had wanted to get a player autograph and Gibbons felt that he was “drawn to him.” From then on, the pair looked forward to seeing one another after games.
However, the pair’s history goes much farther back than they had originally thought. Both were in attendance at a Nov. 2008 Syracuse v. Notre Dame matchup, now dubbed the “snowball game” as the Fighting Irish student section pelted snowballs down on its players. That game made both Gibbons and Donovan lifelong college football fans.
Over the past two years, Donovan’s health deteriorated and he has not been able to attend many games. Diagnosed with VACTERL and Charcot Marie Tooth, “Timothy persevered through over 50 surgeries in his lifetime and has always come through it with a smile on his face,” Gibbons wrote.
However, in April 2021, Donovan had a life-altering, but risky, surgery to straighten his spine and make it easier for him to breathe. As a result of the surgery, he has grown four inches and recently graduated high school.
As Gibbons transfers to FSU to play his 5th and 6th college seasons, Donovan reached out to let him know that “he would always be a Dillan Gibbons fan and that he is now a proud fan of Notre Dame AND Florida State.”
Now, like so many games before, Gibbons hopes Donovan can be in the stands to cheer him on.
“It would mean so much to both of us if he could be there to watch me play my first game as a Nole when I suit up against the Irish,” Gibbons wrote.
His GoFundMe would provide the funds for Donovan and his family to fly out to Tallahassee for the FSU v. Notre Dame game on Sept. 5, and pay for their transportation costs, lodging, and meals. If there are extra funds raised, they will go directly to paying for Donovan’s medical expenses.
At the time of publication, the fundraiser has garnered over $12,000 of the goal $30,000.