Welcome to the University of North Texas Athletics Department webpage created by the UNT System Office of General Counsel in connection with the student-athlete name, image and likeness lawsuit filed as In re College Athlete NIL Litigation (also referred to as In re NIL Litigation).
This page is intended to provide general information to current and former UNT student-athletes who received a letter from the university informing them that UNT has received a subpoena requesting information from their educational records.
This page does not provide legal advice and is not a substitute for legal counsel. If you are a UNT student-athlete and have questions about how the lawsuit may affect you or about the subpoena, you should consult an attorney.
What is this lawsuit about?
In June and July 2020, three student-athletes from universities in Arizona, Oregon and Illinois filed separate lawsuits against the NCAA and several of its member conferences (SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, ACC and PAC-12) challenges the NCAA rules that prohibit student-athletes from receiving compensation for their NIL. In July 2021, a judge combined the cases into a single lawsuit that is now known as the In re NIL Lawsuit.
The lawsuit is on behalf of all Division 1 student-athletes who competed during the four years prior to the lawsuit (June 15, 2016 to July 1, 2021), including those who competed at UNT. Generally, the lawsuit is asking the court to:
- permanently stop the NCAA from enforcing all of its rules that restrict student-athletes from making money from their NIL;
- award student-athletes who participated in Division I football and in women’s and men’s basketball since June 15, 2016 a share of the revenue the NCAA and its member schools received from selling the universities’ telecast rights; and
- award all student-athletes who participated in Division I athletics from June 15, 2016 to July 1, 2021 the revenue they likely could have earned had NCAA rules not prohibited them from marketing their NIL on social media.
What is a subpoena?
A subpoena is a legal document that directs an individual or organization to produce records that may be reviewed or used in a lawsuit or other legal proceeding. The law requires individuals and organizations that receive a subpoena to comply with it unless something is done to delay or stop them from having to do so.
Why did I receive a letter informing me about the subpoena?
The attorneys who filed the In re NIL Lawsuit sent subpoenas to UNT and other universities across the country asking for the names of all student-athletes who received an athletic scholarship dating back to June 2016. The subpoena also requests financial aid and social media-related information for those student-athletes, and for information that does not pertain directly to student-athletes (for instance, university policies and procedures related to NIL).
The subpoena does not ask for your medical information or academic records (i.e. grades, transcript, etc.), and does not seek financial aid information provided by your family. We have provided a Summary of the subpoena that lists all the information it is seeking.
You are receiving notice of the subpoena because a federal law that protects the privacy of information in student education records requires UNT to notify students before information from their education records can be provided to anyone outside the university pursuant to a subpoena. This law, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (“FERPA”), also gives students the right to object to the release of information from their education records and requires the university to inform you of this right.
Does the letter require me to do anything?
No. If you do not object to UNT providing the attorneys who are representing student-athletes your name, contact information, and athletic aid-related information, you do not need to take any action and UNT will release your name and contact information 10 calendar days from the date on the notice you received, which is December 15, 2021.
If you do not want UNT to send your information, you should immediately seek the advice of an attorney who can file a document called a “Motion to Quash the Subpoena.” This motion will stop the university from having to comply with the subpoena; at least until a judge decides whether to grant your request to protect your information from release. You or your attorney will need to file the motion with the court before December 15, 2021 and provide the UNT System Office of General Counsel a copy of the motion on or before that date.
If UNT receives notice that you have filed a motion to quash before December 15, 2021, it will not release your records. Instead, UNT will wait until the court decides whether the information can be protected or whether it must be given to the attorneys who requested it.
If you file a motion to quash, you should immediately notify the UNT System Office of General Counsel and provide that office a copy of the motion at ogc.untsystem.edu. You also can contact the office at (940) 565-2717. Please understand that attorneys in the UNT legal office cannot provide you personal advice.
However, you should know that UNT has formally objected to the release of all student information protected by FERPA, including financial aid information. The court has not ruled on the objection and may order release financial aid information and other information protected by FERPA at a later date. Therefore, you still will need to file a motion to quash if you want to protect your information.
How can my information be used?
The attorneys who receive your information can use it only for the lawsuit. The court where the lawsuit is filed has ordered the attorneys who represent the student-athletes and the ones who represent the NCAA and athletic conferences not to share the information with anyone who is not part of the lawsuit. The order prohibiting disclosure of information is a “protective order,” that applies to all information UNT produces in response to the subpoena.
May I contact the attorneys who asked for my records?
Yes. The attorneys who asked for your records represent the student-athletes who filed the lawsuits and you can ask them about the subpoena as well as the lawsuits. You can contact Ben Siegel, an attorney with Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP at (510) 725-3036 email@example.com.
May I call the University Student Attorney about this subpoena or lawsuit?
Yes. UNT provides legal advice to students through the Student Legal Services office. This advice is free of charge from licensed attorneys who are members of the State Bar of Texas.
You can reach the Student Legal Services office at (940) 565-2614 between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. The office is located Chestnut Hall, Suite 115.
You can find more information about the office at http://www.unt.edu/legal.
May I tell my family and friends about the subpoena?
Yes. You can talk to anyone you wish about the subpoena, the letter you received informing you about the subpoena, and the lawsuit itself.
Remember, though, your UNT coaches, trainers, and other members of the athletics department cannot give you advice about these lawsuits or the subpoena.