SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utes players couldn’t believe it their own eyes. In an unprecedented Name, Image and Likeness deal, all 85 scholarship players received a lease to a brand new 2024 Ram Big Horn 1500 Truck.
“It was unreal,” said offensive lineman Spencer Fano, who was unaware of the deal. “I was walking out there and I couldn’t really believe it. It was like, what? WHAT? It was crazy.”
To qualify for the NIL deal, players only need to have a good driving record and be willing to promote awareness of the Utah Crimson Collective to help other student-athletes benefit from their own name, image and likeness and will be encouraged to give back to their communities.
“Every scholarship player just got a truck?” said defensive lineman Jonah Elliss. “I’m not sure if many other programs are doing that.”
In fact, no other program has done this, although you can bet others will soon follow.The six-month lease and insurance costs will be covered. All the players have to pay for is gas. Players will be able to renew their leases, but if players transfer to another school, the lease will be forfeited.
This deal is sure to help recruiting in the future.
“It’s definitely a step up,” Elliss said. “Every school has these collectives, and are trying to bring in enough money to hopefully take a step up on another school trying to get these recruits. But not many schools are giving out trucks.”
“For some recruits out there, maybe the NIL stuff is the one reason they wouldn’t come to a place like this,” Fano said. “But now there’s no reason anyone would not come to Utah.”
The deal is worth some six million dollars. Pretty incredible where college athletics has gone now that players can be given trucks, but this is the new day and age of NIL.
“It’s obviously unreal,” said defensive lineman Junior Tafuna. “Three years ago, we wouldn’t believe this would ever happen. I’m fazed by it, but it’s a blessing.”
The only problem now, how are the players going to be able to find their trucks among 85 identical ones?
“Most people are saying they want black,” said Fano. “So as long as I get a different color than that, I should be fine.”
So far, some $3.5 million has been raised by the Crimson Collective, with a goal of $6 million by the end of the year.
Utah next takes on Cal October 14 at Rice-Eccles Stadium.