University of Iowa director of athletics Gary Barta said the university’s athletics department has no plans to give the operators of the Swarm Collective a list of Iowa football and basketball season ticket holders it wants to use to raise funds.
In an open letter to fans posted Tuesday on the athletic department's social media site, Barta addressed questions that have risen after operators of the collective organized to raise money to benefit name, image and likeness (NIL) needs of the Iowa football and men’s and women’s basketball programs criticized the university for not making its list of ticket holders available.
In an article published Saturday on the website HawkFanatic.com, Swarm Collective CEO Brad Heinrichs expressed frustration with the school's refusal to provide his organization with a list of ticket holders that it could use to market its operations.
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Heinrichs said the university turned down the request because his group provides funds to only three sports, seeking instead that dollars be distributed equally between all sports to meet Title IX requirements.
A former Iowa golfer who organized the collective, Heinrichs wants his group’s funds to go to the three sports it was set up to support.
In his letter, Barta pointed out that under NCAA rules, collectives must operate outside of and independently from university athletic departments.
He said his department has partnered with the Swarm collective in several ways within the framework of the rules.
Barta cited a fundraising event held at the Iowa football facility during the fall and a trip to New York City where contributors to the Swarm received an inside view of Iowa men’s basketball.
He said the Swarm’s decision to become a corporate sponsor through Hawkeye Sports Properties will provide additional opportunities for the athletic department to promote the collective within NCAA rules.
“Access to the Hawkeye season ticket holder and contributor databases are never released directly to a third party," Barta wrote. “We have, on occasion, promoted opportunities and/or services of various partners. We will continue to do this in the future."
He cited as an example allowing coaches to record video messages encouraging fans and season ticket holders to support Iowa student-athletes.
“There are, and will continue to be, limitations on the athletic department’s involvement in collectives related to NCAA rules, tax laws, Title IX law, etc.," Barta wrote. “The concept and rules surrounding NIL and collectives will continue to evolve. The Hawkeyes will continue to advance with those changes."
Barta concluded his letter by encouraging interested fans to visit the Swarm organization’s website, iowaswarm.com, to learn more about the group.
He said the university has worked through a changing landscape to provide its student-athletes and coaches with “the ability to remain competitive and relevant," adding, “we are equally committed to navigating these changes as we’ve always done … in the right way."
He pointed to numerous examples of how the department has assisted Iowa student-athletes in “navigating their opportunities, brand and earning potential."