On August 1, 2023, The Drake Group sent its fourth request to the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) asking that the OCR issue existing Title IX guidance to colleges and universities “to address sex discrimination in recruiting, publicity, promotion, and financial aid by name/image/likeness collectives (NIL collectives) they are directly and indirectly supporting.
“These booster/alumni organizations are entangled, entrenched, and integrated with the respective colleges and universities they support. Colleges and universities are directing and supporting these NIL collectives in many ways — using them to evade their Title IX gender equity obligations.
“Overwhelmingly, these NIL collectives are acting on behalf of their institutions to support recruiting, retaining, and giving more financial aid than the NCAA allows to men’s football and basketball players. Jason Belzer, CEO of Student Athlete NIL (SANIL) that manages 30 collectives, reported at an University of Arizona sponsored conference on June 8, 2023 in Washington, DC, while sitting on a panel with Charlie Baker, NCAA President, that 95 percent of NIL money is going to men—also noted that the medium collective on the Power 5 level has about $3 million on hand—with some up to $10 million. At Texas A&M male athletes earned $8,412,816.96 compared to $134,661 for female athletes from NIL collectives over the last two years.
“It is not the responsibility of ED-OCR to fix the chaotic NIL arena. It is the responsibility of OCR to make it clear to higher education institutions that they cannot use NIL collectives to evade Title IX athletics obligations. As the federal agency charged with the enforcement of Title IX, we are hopeful that this request to advance OCR’s enforcement responsibilities through the issuance of guidance will be positively received.”