Dinkytown Athletes is a community of University of Minnesota athletics fans, alumni and supporters. Our organization was born as a result of recently passed NIL (name, image and likeness) legislation. NIL opens the doors for student athletes to promote themselves, and accept money in exchange for NIL approved activities.  As an NIL collective, our charter is to help student athletes navigate NIL opportunities and help our local business community and fan base with never before seen access to our U of MN athletes.


Dinkytown Athletes aims to support student-athletes at the University of Minnesota with NIL opportunities, educational resources, and post graduation career opportunities. Dinkytown Athletes’ mission is to provide the rabid fan base with access to and experiences with their favorite Minnesota athletes. We are a purpose driven organization focused on maximizing business efficiencies and NIL opportunities for student athletes.

Our Team



Derek Burns is Co-Founder and President of Dinkytown Athletes.  He previously served as the Chief Marketing Officer and partner at Tierney in St. Paul, Minnesota.   Burns is a former Gopher football captain, multi-year letterwinner, and has a bachelor’s degree from the Carlson School of Management.  He holds a regular guest spot on the Gopher Gridiron Podcast providing technical analysis and breakdowns.  Derek’s skills include marketing, communication, and product campaign management.  Derek lives in Plymouth, Minnesota and spends time with his wife Kim exploring hiking trails in Minnesota. 



Robert Gag is Co-Founder and Vice President of Dinkytown Athletes.  Rob is responsible for business development, internal structure, and finance for Dinkytown Athletes.  Previously, Rob was CEO and partner at Tierney in St. Paul, MN.   Prior to his position as CEO, Rob held a variety of sales management positions throughout his 25 plus years with the company.   Rob is a lifelong Gopher Fan along with his family of five and is a long time resident of Stillwater, Minnesota.


By joining Dinkytown Athletes or with a one-time donation, you can help create NIL opportunities for our Minnesota athletes.

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