Utah group’s NIL truck deal is ‘huge’ Title IX deal for the university

Utah group’s NIL truck deal is ‘huge’ Title IX deal for the university

One of the team’s most lucrative signings at 28 months old Zero era – It has a Utah– The scholarship-focused collective offered all 85 football players scholarships in new Dodge trucks – and has now captured the attention of the nation’s most prominent Title IX attorney.

Based on the Gulf region Arthur Bryant to Bailey & Glaser, LLPHe, who has represented more female athletes in lawsuits against schools and universities under Title IX than any lawyer nationwide, said he is “outraged” by what he calls a “blatant, in-your-face” case of extraordinary sex discrimination.

In the headline truck unveiled last month, the Utah-focused collective, Crimson groupThe 2024 Dodge Ram 1500 Big Horn is being rented to football players — not female athletes — for free.

Legal experts call the Utah State football players’ truck deal a prime example of the complex Title IX question that the broader college athletics industry has been grappling with for more than two years to nothing.

It’s a new era in which donor-led associations generally give the overwhelming majority of their dollars to male athletes. Title IX, the 51-year-old federal law that protects students from discrimination based on sex at any school that receives federal funding, mandates that schools must provide male student-athletes and female student-athletes equal treatment and benefits.

Crimson Collective pays for each truck’s six-month lease (plus insurance) — and each vehicle sells for $61,000. The total cost of the NIL deal is believed to exceed $6 million. The leases are renewed if the player returns next season. If a player moves, loses, or exhausts their eligibility, the player returns the truck.

“This should be a major concern for the university under Title IX,” Bryant told On3. “It appears to be an astonishingly blatant and clear violation of Title IX that would cost the school millions of dollars.”

Are NIL groups an extension of the university?

Seattle-based attorney Julie SommerExecutive Director of Drake Group Education FundShe described the truck deal as another sign of a larger problem, which is the lack of fair promotion and support for female athletes compared to men.

“Because the Utah Truck Deal is closely linked and coordinated through their group, it is also another example of co-ops, as an extension of the university, also subject to gender equity requirements,” Sommer told On3. “They’re looking to invest almost everything in football, men’s basketball and those teams’ brands — and to do it through their collective collections. It’s a statement about what the organization values ​​and supports.”

“It may seem perfectly legal to some given the new blurred lines and lack of enforcement of rules in the NIL world,” Sommer added, but with these types of benefits so closely linked and coordinated across the organization and its group, it’s a problem under Title IX if they “don’t offer anything.” “Similar to women.”

Utah State officials declined to answer a few specific questions from On3 related to the truck unveiling event, the Crimson Collective’s relationship with the athletic department, and what similar deals have been offered to female athletes at the university. Attempts to reach Crimson Collective were unsuccessful.

A source familiar with NIL policy at the league told On3 in multiple conversations that the unveiling of the Crimson Collective truck inside the stadium was entirely their own event, just as any nationwide collective announcement would be, and that the group is its own entity operating within the space. Private. The source added that the university may help coordinate the event once facilities leasing agreements and plans are solidified.

Where is there “anything of similar value” for mathematics?

As for how to hold schools accountable, Bryant said, in theory, the federal government could do that, but with limited resources and attention to other matters, it has never prosecuted a school for violating Title IX’s gender equity in athletics requirements. The best recourse is for women to be willing to file a lawsuit, he said, adding that “almost every female student-athlete in the state of Utah seems to have a very strong claim under Title IX.”

Penalties for organizations that violate Title IX can include significant damages and attorneys’ fees in cases brought to court. The final penalty is withdrawal of federal funds, a penalty that has never been implemented.

As Sommer points out, the key question is: “What have UT and its group done similarly for female athletes?”

Called a Utah-centered collective Who shakes the collective house? It was believed to be the only collegiate group dedicated to gymnastics in the country when it launched in December 2022. It is unclear how many dollars were given to female athletes. The group did not respond to an email from On3.

Bryant said the gymnastics-focused group’s NIL activity “could be an appropriate defense if the school was involved in the two groups’ activity and provided female and male student-athletes with generally equal treatment and benefits.” “Otherwise, where are the trucks or cars – or anything of similar value – for mathematics?”

The third group focused on Utah is Runnin’ Hoops Collectiveany Salt Lake Tribune The offer is for the men’s basketball team. The group’s website states that it directly supports a university-affiliated team “We have no ties to the University of Utah other than being fans!”

Whether schools are responsible for the NIL activity of their affiliated groups, which are technically third parties, is an issue that is generating debate and increasing scrutiny across the industry.

the National Collegiate Athletic Association Evolving guidance states that schools must maintain a certain distance from crowds. But many schools ignore this guidance. Several industry sources associated with schools or collaborative groups told On3 that more than half of Power 5 groups work closely with school fundraising arms.

95% of collegiate dollars go to male athletes

Drake Groupa nonprofit advocacy organization, believes Title IX applies to collegiate activity because schools and most collegiates are “intertwined, well-established, and integrated with schools,” according to a 10-page memo the group sent in August to Office for Civil Rights. The group claims that schools are evading Title IX responsibilities as affiliated groups distribute the vast majority of dollars to male athletes.

Jason BelzerCEO of NIL student-athleteThe company, which operates about 30 groups, said in June that 95% of group dollars are distributed to male athletes.

“Some schools are reluctant to participate significantly in cohort groups at this time because of the uncertainty surrounding how Title IX applies to that relationship,” With wintera college sports attorney in Kansas City Kenhertz Berryhe recently told On3.

If a school does not participate at all in its collegiate activity, and third parties treat male athletes much better than female athletes—offering significantly more dollars—there is no Title IX violation because the law applies only to educational institutions that receive federal funds. However, if the school was involved, it raises questions regarding a Title IX violation.

Sarah Wickwho advises universities on athletic compliance issues in her role as an attorney at mcguire woods, He said in the spring that the more entrenched the school became with the congregation, the more problematic it became.

Her advice to colleges: “Stay away from them. Don’t touch it with a 10-foot pole.

It is difficult to ascertain how closely schools cooperate with collectivist groups – let alone how to define what might be described as a “close relationship” – and it is not useful for schools to publicly reveal whether they are indeed associated with collectivism.

Utah math ‘needs school accountability’

All of this leads to some key questions: What is the relationship the Utah football team and athletic department have with the Crimson Collective? And how close are they to working with the group on the no-truck deal?

The Crimson Collective is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose website says it is dedicated to supporting local charities in the Salt Lake City Valley. Its board of directors includes prominent figures and alumni from Utah Colorado Rockies What is with you Charlie Monfort And the previous one NFL players Alex Smith And Eric Wedel.

Utah Multimedia Rights Partner, LearfieldIt works with more than 50 groups nationally at more than 45 universities. The Community may secure business arrangements with the school’s MMR partner to purchase limited intellectual property rights.

On October 4, the day the zero-truck deal was revealed, Salt Lake Tribune Quoted from the sports director Mark Harlan Saying, “We need everyone to lean towards nothing… so it shouldn’t be said that it’s not a big priority for this athletic department.”

And the university president Taylor Randall “The University of Utah will not be left behind,” he said.

The football players have arrived Rice-Eccles StadiumThe vehicles were announced in a dramatic manner and some of the trucks were displayed on the pitch to the cheering players. An 85-second video clip on social media shows the truck being unveiled inside the stadium, where some of the trucks were delivered to the players on the field and in the presence of the coach. Kyle Whittingham.

The video concludes with a visual logo for the school. The trucks were covered in a Utah-style wrap consisting of the school colors. The school’s official Utah Football Supports.

“These facts alone undermine any notion that the university was not involved in the truck deal — and that there was a clear disconnect between the university and the university with respect to this deal,” Bryant said. “Utah’s female student athletes need to hold the school accountable – and no one else will. The history of Title IX has shown that women only get equality if they are willing to fight for it.

As Sommer concluded: “Wouldn’t it be great if we heard about a collective group — not just celebrating a ninth title — but taking an initiative to say, ‘We value our female athletes as much as we value our male athletes.’” So we plan to fully comply with the law regarding scholarship funds, participation numbers, and treatment. And the advantages.

“And if that means Utah State’s female athletes also get around campus in Dodge Ram 1500 Big Horn ’85 trucks, then that’s their choice.”

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