Utah’s NIL collective offers truck and SUV leases for three more teams — two of them women’s programs

The deal is similar to the one given to the football team in October.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ute athletes rush towards a 2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee as the Crimson Collective unveils brand new vehicles for Ute athletes on the womenÕs gmnastic team and the menÕs and womenÕs basketball teams at the Jon M. Hunstman Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023.

Members of the Utah gymnastics, women’s basketball and men’s basketball teams will be able to lease a car as part of a Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) deal, the Crimson Collective announced Wednesday.

Athletes will be given the option to lease either a 2024 Ram 1500 Big Horn truck or a 2024 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The Crimson Collective, Utah’s officially endorsed NIL arm, said it will pay for the lease and the insurance on the vehicles.

Utah 360, a streaming company offering Utah content, helped with the deal, the collective said.

The deal is similar to the one the football team received in October, where all 85 scholarship football players could lease a truck if they opted into the NIL deal.

(Bethany Baker | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ute gymnastics athletes react as the Crimson Collective unveils brand new vehicles for athletes on the womenÕs gmnastics team and the menÕs and womenÕs basketball teams at the Jon M. Hunstman Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023.

“This story can be told in the living rooms [of recruits] by our coaches,” athletic director Mark Harlan said. “... And for that we are extremely grateful.”

The initial leases run for six months, a spokesperson for the Crimson Collective confirmed.

The original Utah football truck deal was met with national praise when it was announced. It also sparked a debate over how Title IX is applied in the NIL space.

“It appears to be blatant, illegal sex discrimination in violation of Title IX,” said Arthur Bryant, a California attorney who specializes in such cases. “It is in-your-face discrimination against the women athletes. Where are their pickup trucks?”

The collective, however, said they have been working on a car deal for the women’s basketball and gymnastics teams for several months.

“Utah Crimson Collective put these plans in motion last spring to provide the student-athletes the opportunity for the use of the vehicles in time for their respective seasons,” a news release from the collective stated.

Women’s basketball player Dasia Young acknowledged she wondered how women’s athletics teams would be compensated after the football deal was announced.

“I don’t think I would have ever seen this coming,” Young said. “When football got it, I was like, ‘Dang, they are so lucky.’ Like, I wish.

“... It has always been preached around social media, give women’s [sports] the credibility we deserve equally to the men,” she said. “And this is clearly showing how much the Crimson Collective and our athletic department love us. We are equal here, which means a lot to us.”

Gymnast Alani Sabado said that NIL can be a “male-dominated industry” and there is a need for more equity in the space.

“Having the support from the Crimson Collective in a male-dominated industry [helps],” she said. “With females, we have set a standard that women are supposed to be equal and we do deserve that credibility.”

The value of this NIL deal was not given. A spokesperson for the collective said each car was worth $65,000 and there are 40 cars potentially being given out. That said, there are no firm numbers on how many athletes will opt into the deal.

The fleet of trucks available to the football team was valued at $6 million, according to the car dealership leasing the trucks. The Crimson Collective said the “majority” of football players opted into the deal.