Local frozen custard shop’s new flavor honors, supports UD basketball

CENTERVILLE — University of Dayton basketball athletes recently scored a sweet deal courtesy of Whit’s Frozen Custard in Centerville.

Shop owner Jeffrey Neace recently created Kiefaber Krunch, a new flavor consisting of vanilla custard with crushed graham crackers, cinnamon brown sugar swirls, and burnt caramel swirls. For every $7.50 pint sold, $3 goes to Dayton 6th, the name, image and likeness (NIL) organization for UD Basketball.

The NCAA granted athletes their NIL rights in 2021, giving them the ability to profit off their personal brands for the first time. Non-profit organization Dayton 6th launched in 2022 with the aim of giving fans a chance to invest in the men’s and women’s basketball programs through the athletes.

Neace said he got the idea for the fundraising flavor about a month ago while posing a question about NIL on a UD social media group. “Someone had mentioned that I ought to get involved and I said, ‘Yeah, that’s a good idea.’”

Researching it online, he saw that Warped Wing has an NIL agreement with Dayton 6th.

“I got to thinking I could create a turnkey kind of thing that’d be really easy for them to agree to,” he said. “I’d just come up with a name, come up with a flavor and come up with something very simple in $3 for each one sold,” Neace said.

He reached out to Dayton 6th Executive Director Matt Farrell and presented his plan, and Farrell immediately agreed. Neace said it helped that Whit’s Frozen Custard was already a corporate partner offering pre-scooped cups at UD Arena.

He asked his daughter, Emma, a UD junior who lives on Kiefaber Street, to devise some names for the new flavor. Emma’s mother, Erin Norwark, created the logo.

Neace said it’s his goal to get more local businesses involved to “do something small.”

“If a lot of small business owners can do something, then it adds up to a lot of money to help support the team, because the realities are, in today’s basketball environment, they need the money to pay the players,” he said.

Farrell said Dayton 6th is “100% focused” on the all the ways that it can allow student athletes to monetize their name, image and likeness.

“The more we can do to increase mindshare with fans to get our brand further in the market to align our brand at Dayton 6th to other reputable brands and B2C (business-to-consumer) organizations, the more we’re going to explore those opportunities,” he said.

Revenues amassed on behalf of Dayton 6th allow it to compensate student athletes for community initiatives, including visiting schools, Christmas gift-giving programs, youth-focused initiatives and partnerships with nonprofits, Farrell said.

Neace said he plans to keep Kiefaber Krunch stocked year-round, recently adding it to Whit’s Frozen Custard’s DoorDash menu.

“Not everyone may be able to get to the shop, but this is a way for them to help contribute to the team,” he said.

About the Author