Utah Utes Athletes, Coaches Express Gratitude After Car NIL Surprise

Dec 13, 2023, 4:18 PM

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah men’s and women’s basketball and gymnastics teams were surprised Wednesday afternoon with the same NIL deal Utah football got back in October for a lease on a 2024 vehicle.

This was one of the largest NIL deals to date specifically involving female student-athletes, creating yet another historical moment for the Utes with regard to the new landscape of college athletics.

Needless to say, all parties involved from the players and coaches couldn’t express their gratitude enough to the Crimson Collective and For The Win 360 for making sure they are included in the new world of NIL.


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Utah Women’s Basketball

Utah women’s basketball coach Lynne Roberts has been on record in the past that part of the reason she took the job back in 2015 was because of the Utes’ track record of supporting women’s sports.

Obviously, NIL has changed what that support looks like drastically over the past two to three years. However, Utah’s community of donors and boosters have stepped up with the Crimson Collective to show that support now includes lucrative name, image, and likeness opportunities not only for football, but for women’s sports too.

“We all want our teams to continue to be elite and we are,” Roberts said. “These are things that just set us over the edge. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it. This is exciting. Thank you for supporting Utah Athletics. Thank you for supporting women’s athletics. It means a lot and we could not truthfully do it without you.”

Senior forward for the Utah women’s basketball team Dasia Young poignantly pointed out how much being included in the Crimson Collective’s efforts to give NIL opportunities to student-athletes at the U means to the women athletes.

“This is such a big deal for us women’s programs,” Young said. “It’s always been preached around social media to give women the credit we deserve equally to the men, 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 and I’m pretty sure to gymnastics too. We’re really grateful.”

Utah Gymnastics

It’s been a rough few months for Utah gymnastics and so the announcement they will have their choice of a 2024 Ram Truck or Jeep Grand Cherokee could not have come at a better time.

Newly minted gymnastics head coach Carly Dockendorf summed up the excitement from her team concisely and on brand, calling the move a “perfect 10”.

“Thank you so much to the Garff family, the Crimson Collective, and For The Win 360 for providing this opportunity for not just the men’s teams but to women’s teams as well,” Dockendorf continued. “It’s pretty incredible that something of this magnitude is happening for the first time in the country at Utah. It just speaks of the excellence we continue to see in all areas across campus in providing our student-athletes with nothing but the very best experience.”

Utah gymnast Alani Sabado echoed the same sentiments of how important and ground-breaking it is for the Crimson Collective and Utah Athletics to recognize their female student-athletes as being on equal footing with their male counterparts.

“Having the support from the Crimson Collective not only within a male-dominant industry, but with females too, like, we’ve set a standard now that women are supposed to be equal, and we do deserve that credibility like Dasia was saying,” Sabado said.

Utah Men’s Basketball

The Runnin’ Utes have been a historically great team for Utah Athletics, but a little down on their luck in recent memory, though appear to be on the rise again.

At one time, simply stating that history of greatness would be enough for recruits and to get top talent in the door, but the emergence of NIL has changed that.

For Utah head coach Craig Smith, this opportunity for his team shows prospective talent that while the Utes aren’t quite where they want to be yet, they are serious about the rebuild and making Utah basketball significant once again.

“This is an amazing state, an amazing city,” Smith said. “We have tremendous people. You guys, you’re always willing to find a way. You’ve got to find a way no matter what and figure it out, so thanks for your support for everybody.”

Center Branden Carlson was all smiles talking to media after receiving the news he and his fellow student-athletes would be getting a vehicle. Carlson joked his post from when Utah football received their trucks back in October finally paid off.

“I am excited and super grateful to the Crimson Collective for getting this all together for us,” Carlson said. “I think this is a great opportunity and obviously, I think everyone is excited and looking forward to getting these cars.”

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Utes Athletes, Coaches Express Gratitude After Car NIL Surprise