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Some of the biggest checks in college sports going to players in North Texas

Some of the biggest checks in college sports going to players in North Texas
Some of the biggest checks in college sports going to players in North Texas 02:30

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)  Now that college athletes can be paid for the use of their name or image, some of the biggest checks will go to players in North Texas.

A new group called the Boulevard Collective, made of SMU supporters and alumni, plans to pay each member of the football and men's basketballs teams $36,000 a year for appearances and other activities on behalf of the organization.

"Pretty incredible commitment, to do $3.5 million a year in deals with the players," said Billy Embody, who covers SMU athletics for of the On3 sports network. "And the thing is, they're kind of getting them involved in the community a little bit, but it certainly is just a baseline kind of salary to play football or men's basketball at SMU."

The Boulevard Collective is not directly affiliated with SMU.

"At a time where an athlete's access to brand and marketing opportunities is more valuable than ever before, we are excited to leverage DFW's integrated network of corporate, philanthropic, and athletics leaders," said Chris Schoemann, the executive director of Boulevard Collective, in a statement. "For a city and alumni base as relationship-oriented as Dallas and SMU, it seems only fitting that the community has come together in this way."

The group has partnered with Opendorse, a NIL deals platform, to provide support for NIL education, disclosures and tax-related preparation. According to Opendorse, the Boulevard Collective is one of the largest such collectives in the Division I landscape.

"So they're kind of back to their high-spending ways I guess is a way to put it," said Embody, referencing the history of the SMU football program. "You look at Oregon, USC, even Texas Tech got a lot of publicity – and SMU's per player is now $11,000 more a year than what Texas Tech did earlier this summer. So the money is there in college football, and I think it's just the beginning of how it's really going to spiral."

Similar collectives have already been created at other schools around the country and in Texas, like UNT, TCU, and Texas Tech. 

Embody believes the NIL money will help with recruiting efforts at SMU.

"They're still looking for that breakthrough on the field for a conference championship or a recent bowl win even," he said. "A $100 million endzone complex, $60 million field house for the guys to work out inside, all the different athletic projects that have gone on campus, and then you factor in this collective – there is unprecedented amounts of money being spent at SMU on athletics and it just kind of shows where they want to be."

Texas law prohibits universities and university employees from arranging NIL deals for student-athletes.

SMU says it is not involved with the Boulevard Collective.

Since these groups aren't directly affiliated with the university, they can pick and choose which players and teams they want to support.

Some worry without universal regulations, NIL will create more inequities in athletic departments.

"A lot of people look at Title IX and say why is this happening?" Embody said. "It's outside the realm, so I'd just recommend people, if they're passionate about it, support your athletes in the particular sport you want to."

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